Policy makers need to take a broad approach in their assessments of whether to regulate a chemical or not. Since the ultimate aim is to protect human health and environment, while stimulating economic growth at the same time, one must include the costs and benefits for all involved parties. Failing to do so will cause regulation to misfire and favour laggards instead of frontrunners, as well as create barriers to innovation and weakened protection for the environment.
Companies and businesses that could ultimately suffer the financial consequences of inadequate information about chemicals received little attention in the debate over the EU new chemicals legislation, REACH. Companies that are dependent on chemicals for their articles are convinced that they cannot afford not to have such information. In this publication ChemSec have given several companies and stakeholder organizations the opportunity to describe their motives for demanding stronger chemicals legislation.
This four page fact sheet answers ten basic questions about REACH – What is the problem with hazardous chemicals, what is REACH, what the industy says about it, how much it costs, if REACH can save money, what happens next etc. Here you can learn that it is estimated that there are 30,000 to 70,000 chemicals on the market, and that possible health benefits for the implementation of REACH have been estimated by the European Commission at €50 billion over 30 years, and outweigh the direct costs many times over.
This four page fact sheet states that the estimated costs for the chemical industry to implement REACH are less than a bar of chocolate, divided on all EU citizens. The estimated costs are €2.3 billion, which corresponds to around 50 cent per EU citizen per year. The benefits for wildlife and the environment have not been calculated in any of the studies. Surely 0.05% of the chemical industry’s annual cost is a small price to pay for better protection of wildlife and human health?
The REACH legislation constitutes a long awaited reform, but unfortunately, unprecedented efforts by the chemical industry has weaken the proposal. The main tactic of the chemical industry has been to claim that the costs of compliance could spell ruination for chemical dependent industry and Europe itself. This report reviews earlier estimates produced by industry of the costs of compliance and compares these with the actual outcomes.
The results from this study among Nordic industries contradict the prevailing notion that REACH is not welcomed by chemical producers and downstream users. In this report environmental- and consumer organisations urge The European Parliament and Council of Ministers to support those companies that are able and willing to assess their chemicals.