Should consumers really have to think about hazardous substances – isn’t that the responsibility of government and business? Shouldn’t government protect us by banning hazardous substances and isn’t it the responsibility of business to ensure that products containing hazardous substances are not in the marketplace?

Governments are working to ban hazardous substances but progress is slow. Every year, more substances are regulated but this all takes time; responsible legislation should build on thorough evaluations and assessments of suspected hazardous substances. Legislation would move even more slowly if we did not prime the market by identifying potential hazardous substances and materials to substitute by setting criteria at an early stage. In the world of chemical safety, today’s laws solve yesterday’s problems and business may have to rely on yesterday’s knowledge. Today, we know more and we can do more to protect ourselves and our families. Why wait until a substance is banned? Why not take it out of your life already now?

Business should phase out hazardous substances from their products, and they do. Some faster than others – and which ones do you want to support? You can choose between a business who is a leader in substituting hazardous substances or a laggard who will do nothing until legislators force him.

By supporting the frontrunners you give them a competitive advantage, change the market and get yourself a more non-toxic life at the same time.

Why choose the laggard and expose you and your family to unnecessary risks?

Small steps are important and everybody can work for change. Government has a responsibility to make the laws and business has the responsibility to follow them but we all have the opportunity to take the extra steps to keep you and your family safe.

We need to work on many fronts to achieve change. In our campaigns, we work with government, business and you, the consumer. We have awareness raising campaigns towards companies where we educate the ones who want to be frontrunners, the authorities inspect the laggards and we have a dialogue with decision makers about how to speed up the process of removing hazardous substances from all of our lives.

Will you join us?

Article by Arne Jamtrot (City of Stockholm) and Martyn Futter (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)