EU's REACH regulation evokes controversy

Published: Sunday 15 July 2007

11 years too early? The eu regulation for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (reach) continues to evoke controversy, even as it enters into force in June 2007. Approved by Parliament and Council in December 2006, reach is one of the longest sagas in eu legislative history.

One of the key objectives of reach is to protect human health and the environment from the potential risks arising from the use of chemicals, and hence requires industries to fully ascertain the risks. The regulation requires more than 30,000 varieties of chemical products on the eu market to go through a health and safety screening and registration process over a period of 11 years. The European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki, which is conducting the screening process, will begin accepting the first registrations a year later.This means, it will take at least another three to four years before the first substances are registered or, if they are considered too dangerous, replaced by less toxic substances.

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