European chemicals legislation allows several hazardous chemicals, that are identified as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and restricted under the REACH regulation, to be used in food contact material. How can this be?
Some call the blacklist approach old fashioned and out-dated. Let’s focus on what you can use instead of what you cannot, they say. Following this train of thought it is tempting to just advocate getting rid of all blacklists and develop whitelists instead. But in fact, you need both, it is not a question of black or white. Let’s try and sort it out.
Dear Björn, I hope that you have settled in well in Helsinki and that you are beginning to find your feet at ECHA. In your new position I expect that you will focus on making the agency’s work more efficient. I also hope that you will guide the agency towards a greater focus on human health and the environment.
The REACH review came out already a couple of months ago, so naturally it’s old news by now, right?
Wrong – the review forms the basis for the discussions at an almost endless number of different policy meetings for a good chunk of the year. It will pave the way for new investigations, mappings, roadmaps and what have you.
When applicants in the authorisation process claim there are no safer alternatives for them to use, regulators take their word for it.
But the authorisation process is not the only area of EU law where companies apply for some kind of permit and include a market analysis together with the applications. For example, there is a very similar legal process for companies applying for merger clearance.