Hazardous chemicals: control and regulation in the European market

Hazardous chemicals: control and regulation in the European market 

Herbert Bender and Philipp Eisenbarth

Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH | 2007 | 397pp | ?70.00 (HB)| 
ISBN 9783527315413 

Reviewed by Paul Illing

For those involved in chemicals regulation in the industrial context this is a uniquely interesting book. It covers how European law is derived, the toxicology which lies behind the classification and labelling of chemicals, safety data sheet writing, notification of new substances at the European Community level and occupational hygiene. It emphasises how much the regulation in this area is EU derived. In terms of the EU legislation it contains all that a chemist in the chemicals industry would regularly use up until this year. It could be a veritable vade mecum. 

The book has problems. The wider contexts of consumer exposure and environmental pollution/effects on humans mediated via the environment are not covered in any detail. A significant number of chemicals named have not been given their normal English names (eg natriumcyanid for sodium cyanide, maleic acid anhydride for maleic anhydride, glycolmonoethylether for ethoxyethanol/ethylene glycol monoethyl ether), so knowledge of German nomenclature is useful. In addition, the book has very limited coverage of national legislation so that, although the relevant EU legislation is named, the UK legislation (Coshh, Chip, Claw, Nons, etc) is not. This limits its usefulness. 

This is a valiant attempt to cover an important field. The attempt suffers from unlucky timing, inadequate language editing and a number of straightforward sub-editing errors. I hope the authors are not discouraged and produce a second edition once there is some experience with Reach and in time for the implementation of the UN Globally Harmonised System for classifying chemicals in the European Union.