News 2015 / September

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PRESS RELEASE: ChemSec transparency lawsuit against ECHA ends in stalemate

EU court rules ChemSec was right asking for the names of the chemical manufacturers that produce SIN-list chemicals, but not the production volumes.

Today’s verdict by the EU Court of Justice means that ECHA must continue to publically display the company names of producers of SIN-chemicals, but the volumes will remain confidential.

– Since we already knew which substances chemical companies produce, disclosing the actual volumes was a logical step forward. Today’s disappointing verdict is effectively a pad on the back of chemical producers and it will also give investors a tougher time making informed decisions, says Anne-Sofie Andersson, Director of ChemSec.

The lawsuit was originally initiated 2011 when ECHA turned down ChemSec’s request for data about which companies that were producing chemicals on the SIN-list. NGO Client Earth joined ChemSec in the lawsuit.

Late 2012, without the ruling of the court, ECHA conceded part of the case, revealing the names of all chemical manufacturers producing or importing chemicals in EU, but the volumes were still kept confidential, except from the so-called tonnage bands. This is an accumulated figure for every specific chemical, but ChemSec wanted to know how much each company was producing respectively. Today’s ruling means ECHA can continue to withhold this information. Their legal defence for not disclosing the volumes was that the information is not arranged in the way ChemSec asked for.

– In order to obtain these numbers it has to be extracted from ECHA’s data. This is a very simple matter for an expert and the costs are negligible, especially in the light of ECHA running a court case fighting this for four years. Knowing who is producing dangerous substances, and what volumes, is vital not only to safeguard the public, but also to raise the level of transparency in the whole industry, Anne-Sofie Andersson concludes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]