REACH proposals will help, not harm business

Proposed EU laws for monitoring and controlling hazardous chemicals will not affect competitiveness, contrary to claims by big business, a report has revealed.

A study funded by the chemical industry shows that the EU’s REACH proposals will not incur huge business costs or cause European countries to lose out to competitors on the international market, WWF and the European Environment Bureau have explained.

Carried out by KPMG, and paid for by employers association UNICE and chemical industry association CEFIC, the study found that:

  • There would be no loss or withdrawal of important chemicals due to registration costs
  • Registration costs would largely be passed on or absorbed by the supply chain
  • Product reformulations would not be likely
  • Only one chemical importer, a sales office importing Chinese-produced chemicals, faced the potential loss of non-important substances

    Moreover, industry itself actually states in the study that there would be business benefits from the better information and risk management of chemicals that would be made possible by the implementation of REACH.

    “No matter how hard it tries, industry cannot demonstrate that REACH is bad for business,” WWF’s European policy director Tony Long stated. “The study does not even show a problem for small businesses. Only the contrary, better chemical regulation should create new markets for safer chemicals. In addition, the environmental and health benefits of REACH would be extensive.”

    A second study, carried out by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on the impact of REACH on new Member States concluded that: “The cost impacts on the individual companies remain moderate, even under the assumption of worst case effects”.

    “Some chemical companies want to avoid a clear responsibility under REACH and their associations will try to twist the findings, but the facts speak a clear language: neither low nor high volume important chemicals were found to be under threat, be it at big or small companies,” EU policy director at the EEB, Stefan Scheuer said.

    “Politicians who had reservations and awaited the results should now be reassured and start working on closing the environmental loopholes.”

    By Jane Kettle

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