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MEI Online: Reagents: Latest News: May 23rd 2003

:: Concerns About Europe's Chemicals and Environmental Progress  

The European Commission has proposed a severe tightening of chemical safety rules to force suppliers to prove products are safe for humans and the environment or else take them off the market. The law would require declaring the properties of all chemicals and special authorisation to use substances which cause cancer or mutations, affect reproductive systems, build up in organisms and persist in the environment. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said: "The simple rule is no data, no market."

The system has been given the name Reach (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals). The Commission estimates that the new law, which will require industry to register some 30,000 chemicals at its own cost, will have a direct cost of around $4.56 billion by 2020. The EU chemical industry group Cefic said the real cost could exceed $30 billion.

Industry and other stakeholders have a chance to influence the bill before it goes to EU governments and the European Parliament for approval. The Commission has set up an eight-week consultation period before releasing the final draft.




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