Preventing Chemical Pollution

Industrial chemicals are essential to our health and quality of life. But chemical pollution is one the greatest threats to our planet. Chemical production uses vast amounts of fossil fuels, energy, water as well as metals and minerals mined from the earth. The industry is one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters. Not only does chemical production have environmental impacts but also some of the chemicals produced are damaging our health, wildlife and the environment. Harmful industrial chemicals are found in products and people, in waste and water, in soils and seas, land and air. Fidra’s mission is to prevent pollution by working with researchers, retailers, policy makers and the public to phase out the most harmful chemicals from all non-essential applications and reduce chemical use.

Health and Environmental Exposure

Harmful chemicals are entering our bodies during the course of our daily lives.  Chemicals of concern from our food, furniture and even some receipts, are getting into adults, children and unborn babies.   We are all exposed to a mix of industrial chemicals some of which are known to cause harm, but most have unknown consequences. Only a tiny percentage of the chemicals used have been properly assessed to see if they are safe, with very little consideration given to environmental impacts and exposure.  Industrial chemicals have reached the most remote regions of the globe and are impacting polar bears, whales and dolphins with devastating effects.  Some of the most toxic chemicals are those which do not breakdown, building up in the environment and in our bodies to worrying levels. These persistent chemicals, such as PFAS and flame retardants, are used on sandwich boxes, sofas and saucepans.

Our work

Fidra is working to prevent pollution and reduce the environmental burden of chemicals. Our vision is a world with clean air and seas, and safer products which can be reused and recycled without fear of contaminating products or the environment.  To achieve this vision, we are developing principles to prevent pollution for policy makers, manufacturers and retailers. We are calling for effective legislation, enforcement and better understanding of chemicals and their impacts.  Our chemical pollution prevention programme is reducing the use of unnecessary chemicals, minimising the environmental impact of industrial chemicals and addressing a number of chemicals of concern. Our projects include eliminating the use of persistent PFAS  in school uniforms and food packaging; phasing out bisphenols which can interfere with hormones from receipts; and calling for better legislation and alternatives to harmful chemical flame retardants.

By reducing our chemical footprint we can cut emissions, reduce resource consumption, use less energy, make products safer and easier to reuse and recycle, and create a healthier environment.