Amid health fears, plastic makers pledge greater transparency over chemicals

November 30 (Reuters) – Plastics manufacturers need to be more transparent about the chemicals used in their products, a leading chemical industry group said. .

Recent research has shown that small pieces of plastic are found in the blood samples, stools and placentas of unborn babies. Scientists are trying to understand the health risks of this new phenomenon, but concerns range from the effect on organs to how some plastic additives might disrupt hormonal systems.

“We are certainly aware of the need for more information and increased transparency, particularly on additives,” Stewart Harris, senior director of global plastics policy at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), told a panel at the Reuters NEXT conference. .

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According to advocacy groups such as the International Pollutants Elimination Network, the lack of clarity about the chemical composition of some materials in the plastics industry has posed one of the challenges in understanding the risks.

A proposed United Nations treaty to tackle plastic waste, which will be finalized by 2024, could provide global measures “to make sure we know what happens to different products and different packaging,” said ACC’s Harris.

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Speaking at the same panel, Japan’s chief negotiator on the deal, Hiroshi Ono, said that more scientific research is needed to understand the health effects of plastics, and that he is unsure whether the agreement will address this issue, given that other international conventions already regulate hazardous substances. substances.

Jodie Roussell, head of public relations for packaging and sustainability at Swiss consumer goods giant Nestle (NESN.S), told the panel she hopes the agreement will help establish global quality controls for plastic, particularly recycled plastic.

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Instead of such standards, Roussell said Nestle has created its own quality controls and blacklist for certain materials. Roussell said international standards will help “to level the playing field and ensure a fair distribution of responsibility across the value chain”.

To watch the Reuters NEXT conference live on November 30 and December 1, please click here.

As John Geddie reports; Edited by Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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