Boy playing with plastice truck to illustrate article saying EU review of chemicals law finds REACH is fit for purpose

EU review of chemicals law finds REACH is fit for purpose

The European Commission has published its review of EU chemicals legislation, known as the REACH REFIT. ClientEarth lawyers have read the Commission’s communication and set out their preliminary thoughts below. We are now examining the 300-page policy document, and will publish our full analysis soon.

ClientEarth lawyer Alice Bernard said: “We welcome the main conclusion of the REACH REFIT, which reaffirms that the obligations this law created ten years ago are still considered necessary to protect humans and the environment against dangerous chemicals.

“Contrary to what is repeatedly claimed by industry lobbies, the report clearly concludes that REACH did not create “unnecessary burden”. This sends a strong message to the market: it is time to invest in substituting dangerous chemicals with safer solutions, rather than spending more resources on complaining to institutions about the cost of regulation.

“We are glad to see that the Commission acknowledged key shortcomings in the implementation of REACH. An important one is the fact that companies fail to comply with the registration obligations like updating their dossiers. However, the actions announced in the communication are too vague to reassure us that this lack of compliance will not be, again, a core issue in the next review in 2022.

“We regret that some core issues raised in our contribution to the public consultation were not heard. Regarding authorisation, the Commission seems to focus on making it easier for companies to apply and get an authorisation rather than truly promoting the use of safer solutions.

“It is disappointing not to see any actions to reassure innovative companies investing in the development of safer alternative solutions. Innovators investing in alternative solutions also need clarity on what information they need to provide in this process. Not acknowledging that sends the wrong signal.”

Read the European Commission’s REACH REFIT evaluation

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Cade Martin