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REACH - How far will the new chemicals legislation reach to protect human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals? A comparison of the positions of the European Parliament and Council

Axel Singhofen

elni Review 2005, Issue 2,  pp. 17-21. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2005.014

In 2001, the Commission presented the White Paper on a Strategy for a future Chemicals Policy. Council adopted its conclusions on the White Paper in June 2001; the European Parliament adopted a resolution on it in November 2001. Both institutions welcomed the strategy and asked for it to be strengthened in various aspects. In May 2003, the Commission submitted a draft proposal for internet consultation. As a result of strong industry pressure, the proposal was watered down significantly before its formal adoption in October 2003. Council started the legislative work in January 2004. Due to the change in legislature, the European Parliament started the legislative work only at the end of 2004 and voted in November 2005. This allowed the Council under the UK Presidency to come to a political agreement at an extraordinary meeting of the Competitiveness Council in December 2005. 
The most fundamental deficiency of the former system was the lack of information on chemicals resulting in a lack of restrictive measures. So will REACH provide sufficient data and adequate structures to restrict and/or control chemical substances - so as to achieve a high level of protection of human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals?

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References

  1. Commission Working Document SEC (1998) 1986 on the Operation of Directive 67/548/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances.
  2. Council Directive 88/379/EEC of 7 June 1988 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous preparations OJ L 187.
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  11. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Reach), establishing a European Chemicals Agency and amending Directive 1999/45/EC and Regulation (EC) {on Persistent Organic Pollutants} {SEC(2003 1171}, COM(2003) 644 final.
  12. European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency and amending Directive 1999/45/EC and Regulation (EC) No …/… [on Persistent Organic Pollutants] (COM(2003)0644 - C5-0530/2003 - 2003/0256(COD)).
  13. Council of the European Union, 2006, Presidency Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning g the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency and amending Directive 1999/45/EC.