Chemical Safety: Europe's Chemical REACH Worries U.S. Industry

Occupational Hazards, October 2003 | Go to article overview

Chemical Safety: Europe's Chemical REACH Worries U.S. Industry


Sometime this fall, two European agencies are expected to complete work on a proposal, known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals), which could have a profound effect on world trade, the chemical industry and occupational health.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is already deeply involved in lobbying efforts to alter the substance and scope of the proposal, which could become law in the European Union (EU) by 2005.

The REACH system will require importers or manufacturers of chemical substances to provide to the EU extensive information on all existing materials produced and sold in volumes above one ton per year in the EU.

The estimated number of affected substances is upwards of 30,000. Direct costs of REACH will be $7 billion over a 10-year period, according to ACC. "Companies must supply the EU with hazard and risk information as part of the registration process," said Joe Mayhew, ACC's vice president of regulatory. …

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