The UK chemical industry should see the impending Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (Reach) legislation as 'an opportunity, not a threat'.
The UK chemical industry should see the impending Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (Reach) legislation as ’an opportunity, not a threat’. So says the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, which recently published its opinions of the EU’s draft legislation. The chairman of the committee, Ian Gibson, said: ’Our look at the European chemicals legislation has convinced us that not everything that comes out of Brussels is all bad, but the government has got to keep the pressure up to avoid landing us with expensive and bureaucratic legislation that does nothing to save the whale, or anything else’.
The committee acknow-ledged that Reach ’may lead to the loss of products . Given that one of its aims is to remove dangerous chemicals from the environment, this is not necessarily a bad thing’. More concerning is the fact that ’very useful products will be withdrawn by companies rather than being put through the registration process, regardless of whether they pose any danger to human health or the environment’, it said.
The committee echoed the views of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), concluding that companies should be encouraged to form consortia to allow data sharing but that making this mandatory would not be workable (see Chem. World, May 2004, p10).
Judith Hackitt, director general of the CIA, said that many of the findings of the report reinforce the industry’s continuing concerns, in particular the recommendation for further impact assessment. ’We trust that these points will be taken forward by the UK government and MEPs prior to further debate on Reach in the European Parliament,’ she said.
Within Reach: The EU’s New Chemicals Strategy can be downloaded from the The United Kingdom Parliament website.