EU Adopts REACH


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BRUSSELS, Belgium The European Parliament, regulatory body of the EU, adopted Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH), chemical-regulating legislation requiring producers to register about 30,000 chemical substances produced or imported above a total quantity of 1 ton/year. Producers must submit a substitution plan to replace about 3,000 highly hazardous substances with safer alternatives. Implementation will begin June 1, 2007.

The final REACH law, a compromise between parliament and council, met a vote of 529 in favor, 98 against, and 24 abstentions. It replaces a current list of 40 legislative texts on the subject. The calendar for registration depends on the risk of the substance and the quantity produced; all relevant substances must be registered by 2018. When no alternative to a prohibited hazardous chemical exists, producers need to present a plan to research possible alternatives.

The newly created Chemicals Agency, responsible for the authorization process, will be based in Helsinki, Finland. Parliament will appoint two members of the agency, and the executive director will undergo a hearing before confirmation.The regulations will protect public and environmental interests without affecting European competitiveness, according to Parliament President Josep Borrell. The regulation transfers the burden of proof regarding testing and evaluation of chemical risks from government authorities to industry, and includes outlined duties for industry to communicate with the public regarding dangerous substances in products. It also includes safeguards for confidential information and other provisions.

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