New EU chemicals plan reaches light of day

Commission proposes overhaul of substance policy through Reach regulation; offers further concessions to industry

The European Commission today delivered on its promise to propose a thorough overhaul of EU chemicals regulation, tabling draft legislation that would radically shift the burden of responsibility for assessing and managing chemical safety onto industry. Enterprise commissioner Erkki Liikanen said the Reach package represented the "biggest challenge so far in implementing the EU's sustainable development strategy".

The fundamentals of the reform remain similar to plans put forward in a February 2001 white paper, though the Commission made significant concessions to industry critics of the plan in September, when it excluded polymers and cut the need for downstream users and small-volume producers of chemicals to produce safety reports when they register substances (EED 24/09/03).

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