EU overreaching with Reach approval

By Control Engineering Staff November 29, 2005

Arlington, VA—The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is dismayed by the European Union (EU) Parliament vote to approve the Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals (Reach) proposal. Although the Parliament addressed some of the grave, global concerns with the European Commission’s proposal, the revised Reach scheme would not provide the health and environmental benefits envisioned by consumers in Europe and around the world.

ACC welcomed Parliament’s amendments that would make the registration process more streamlined and workable. However, ACC is confounded over Parliament’s rejection of a risk-based, scientific approach to safe chemicals management. For example, the authorization section of Reach would require the substitution of some chemical products even if they are safe for use.

“If enacted, manufacturers and consumer product companies from Boston to Bombay that use essential chemical products would be impacted by this misguided scheme,” stated ACC president and CEO Jack N. Gerard. He added, “We will continue to advocate a common sense approach to managing chemicals that focuses on ensuring safety rather than substituting essential products.”

ACC supports the objectives of Reach—protecting human health and the environment and increasing confidence in the EU’s chemical regulatory system—but the approved Reach proposal remains unworkable, impractical and unsuited to provide anticipated health and environmental benefits. Additionally, over 30 governments in the World Trade Organization have raised concerns about the trade and competitive impacts of Reach.

The U.S. chemical industry continues to invest heavily in the application of improved technologies to ensure the safe production and use of essential chemical products. ACC encourages EU officials to focus on advancing innovation in chemical use and management rather than choosing “winners” and “losers” among chemical products.