Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-380"

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". Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to discuss the issue of PFOA briefly, and then go on to make a very fundamental point. The final decision has not yet been taken in the matter of PFOA. It was not possible to include a ban on these substances in the Directive, as we are not in possession of a satisfactory risk assessment or an impact assessment. An international risk assessment is being carried out at present at OECD level, however. Naturally, we shall look at the results carefully and make any necessary proposals. I live in the same German as the honourable Member Mr Liese and have been following the case he described myself with great interest. All I can say today is that, although the investigations by the German authorities have not been concluded, I have the very strong impression that this is a case of environmental crime, plain and simple. Contrary to the law in force, toxic substances have been introduced into the environment. Whether these Directives could have prevented this is a different story. Nevertheless, I think it important that Mr Liese referred to this case, as it confirms explicitly once more the kind of risks he described. In a modern industrial society, it is inevitable that we have to live with certain risks. The question as to which risks we consider acceptable and which we do not is one on which we have to keep deciding anew. There is a series of assessment benchmarks that can help us make this decision. I should like to mention one risk that I do not accept – and here I am speaking as the Commissioner for Industry. I do not accept the argument that we must accept the risk of highly toxic substances in our environment because investments have been made. I do not accept the argument that we must accept such substances because they lead to revenue generation. I do not even accept the argument – even if this does not make me any friends – that we must use these substances so that jobs are not lost. I consider wholly inappropriate this comparison between jobs in industry and the use of toxic substances for which alternatives exist. In situations such as this, the decision can only be to protect human beings and the environment unconditionally from avoidable risks. This is the line that underlies my policy, at least, on all these issues. The House will notice this when we come to discuss the most important, extensive and modern chemicals legislation in the world – namely REACH – shortly in plenary."@en1

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