Exeter professor Michael Depledge has been one of several leading toxicology experts to speak out on the difficulty of setting up a hypothetical UK Chemicals Agency post-Brexit.
Speaking at the first session of the UK Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into toxic chemicals in everyday-life, the scientists advised adherence to pre-existing EU chemical regulations since the UK lacks sufficient expertise to replace them. According to the discussions, the three-fold increase in chemical production by 2050 will require the necessary and substantial creation of new regulations (Source: ChemicalWatch).
“should the UK leave the EU then it is possible, perhaps likely, that we will lose access to the work of important EU Agencies”
Speaking to Exeposé, Professor Depledge noted that “should the UK leave the EU then it is possible, perhaps likely, that we will lose access to the work of important EU Agencies” in the field of chemical regulation.
Professor Depledge goes on to cite the broader decline in training in the field as a further issue. “[S]everal leading centres of ecotoxicological and environmental chemical expertise have closed since the mid-2000s,” with far fewer undergraduates and graduates being trained “in the field of chemical pollution”. Likewise, funding for research on “the fate and effects of environmental chemicals on ecosystems and human health has been progressively reduced”.
There will “be a need for greater investment in training and research in ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry if we are to meet the chemical management challenges of the future.”