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European Commission proposes new chemical regulations

The European Commission published its new proposal for new chemical regulations on October 29th:

Under the proposed new system called REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of CH emicals), enterprises that manufacture or import more than one tonne of a chemical substance per year would be required to register it in a central database. The aims of the proposed new Regulation are to improve the protection of human health and the environment while maintaining the competitiveness and enhancing the innovative capability of the EU chemicals industry. REACH would furthermore give greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances. This information would be passed down the chain of production. The proposal has been drafted in close consultation with all interested parties, including via an Internet consultation.

According to the official announcement from the EU, Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström said:

REACH is a groundbreaking proposal. Once adopted, It will allow us to take advantage of the benefits of chemicals without exposing ourselves and the environment to risks. Thus it will create a win-win situation for industry, workers and citizens, and our ecosystem. It will give Europe’s citizens the high level of protection that they have the right to expect. The EU will have one of the most progressive chemicals management systems in the world.

However, environmental groups are critical toward the proposal, The Guardian reports:

Under pressure, Ms Wallstrom recently revised the bill so that it requires only about 10,000 chemicals to be registered, instead of the initial 30,000.
But environmental groups accused the commission of caving in to the powerful chemical industry.
”It could do a lot more,” said Tony Long, director of the WWF’s European policy office. ”This law needs to be strengthened, as currently it gives too many concessions to the chemical industry, who have been promoting exaggerated studies of the costs.”

Article in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter: ”EU inrättar kemikaliebyrå”.

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