Industry fears over new EU chemicals plans
Claire Monkhouse from the IEEP looks at the latest developments at the European CommissionIndustry groups have raised fears over the high costs of implementing the new system to regulate chemicals within the EU. Known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals), the system would replace forty different pieces of current legislation and place controls on chemicals currently not covered under the existing regime.
The new plans would mean a reverse in the burden of proof from public authorities to industry, with companies having to prove that the chemicals they produce are safe for human health and the environment. There will also be tighter controls for chemicals classified as ‘highest concern’.
The chairman of industry association CEFIG, Eggert Voscherau, has commented that, in their present state, the plans would only achieve marginal environmental improvements at a very high price. The Commission has estimated that it will cost in the region of w18-32bn, although industry has estimated an even higher figure.
After the current consultation, the Commission is expected to release the formal proposals in the autumn, later than initially planned.Further information:
>The consultation is split over seven different volumes of text and is over one thousand pages in total. They can be downloaded from:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/chemicals/chempol/whitepaper/reach.htm. Guidance for the consultation, the interactive tool and the template can be found at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/chemicals/chempol/whitepaper/consultation.htm