The EU’s environmental ministers express concerns about slow moving REACH
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The EU’s environmental ministers express concerns about slow moving REACH

The slow implementation pace of Europe’s chemicals legislation is a very real problem. Most recently the Environmental Council, which consists of the Environmental Ministers of all EU member states, publically expressed its deep concerns regarding REACH and the goal to have all relevant SVHCs on the REACH Candidate list by 2020. In late December the Council said: “given the decline in the number of SVHC dossiers, achieving the objective to list all relevant SVHC in the REACH candidate list by 2020 is at risk.”

“ChemSec could not agree more with Europe’s ministers. It’s only three years left until 2020 and we would like to see a plan for how to reach this goal. There is a need for a stronger political will and concrete actions”, says ChemSec Policy Advisor Frida Hök.

By comparing the number of substances on the Candidate List with the SIN List, ChemSec’s own identified list of SVHC substances, which builds on the same SVHC criteria as REACH, you see a striking difference. The SIN List currently holds 862 chemicals, while the Candidate List holds a measly 173.

Currently there is a public consultation running asking for input from stakeholders all across the EU how REACH could be more effective. ChemSec has written about this in the past and have also handed out extensive advice to companies wishing to partake. With the deadline now only two days away (Jan 28th) it’s imperative that all affected parties speak up.

“The main points raised by ChemSec is the need for higher quality of chemical information from companies and the need to speed up the phase out process of hazardous substances. We would also like to see groups of chemicals regulated to a larger extent as well as imported articles to be included in the authorisation process”, Frida Hök says.

“This might sound like very burdensome changes for companies, but by looking closer at it you will see it is actually the other way around. Our proposed changes will make it easier for progressive companies to keep their supply chains toxic free and it will make sure producers of safe alternative chemicals are more visible in the marketplace.”

Also the Environmental Council speaks up on many of the issues put forward by ChemSec in the public consultation.

“We urge for the Commission to acknowledge the strong message from the Environmental Council, to carefully study the suggestions for improvement of REACH coming in from the public consultation and then to work hard to get REACH on track”, Frida Hök says.