Chemical companies could face lawsuits over allergies and toxicity if they fail to change the way they work, Friends of the Earth warned last week.
The environmental group is urging the government to overhaul chemical regulation. It claims industry regulators do not know which chemicals are present in many products and says only 14% of high-volume chemicals have the required safety data.
According to FoE chemical expert Dr Michael Warhurst, genetic science is making it easier to measure the effects of chemicals on the body’s immune system. `At the moment it is hard to link illnesses with exposure to a particular chemical or product,’ Warhurst said. `But this will change, and companies that fail to clean up their act will face a heavy bill.’
The UK Chemical Industries Association said the industry was highly regulated and that a small number of people will always face problems when new chemicals are tested. CIA director-general Dr Elliot Finer said: `We sympathise with such people and hope that further research will find solutions to their problems.’
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