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25 March 2010

EU considers changing REACH chemicals law

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Parts of the 1000-page REACH chemicals regulation remain unclear and need to be amended in order to speed up the subsitution of hazardous chemicals with safer ones, Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said on March 22

REACH implementation is "bad" and the current situtation is "non-sustainable," Potočnik told members of the press.

His comments come after a series of delays in beginning the authorisation process at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

The implementation of REACH and "the route to substitution" need to be speeded up, Potočnik stressed.

There are currently 29 substances on a candidate list of 'substances of very high concern' (SVHC), which are being considered for substitution, and another seven substances on a priority list. But there are none on the substitution list yet, Potočnik said, suggesting the numbers should be higher (EurActiv 15/01/10).

SVHCs include chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems. They also tend to persist in the environment and accumulate in the body.


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