EU eases up on proposed new chemical rules

Inundated with some 6000 responses to its call for comments online — from just about everyone imaginable around the world who makes or uses chemicals — the European Union has eased up a bit on the proposed requirements for its new comprehensive chemical registration system. Another stakeholders’ meeting is now slated for November 21. Then the draft legislation — designed to make chemical suppliers and users responsible for showing that all the chemicals they use are safe — moves on to the European Parliament and Council of Ministers for approval.

“As a response to the Internet consultation, the Commission has made changes that lead to an 80% reduction in estimated cost,” said Erkki Liikanen, member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, in a speech at the press conference in Brussels on the revised rules. A revised study now puts the net present value of total costs at about 2.3-5.2 billion euros. The EU estimates that some 30,000 substances and another 40,000 intermediaries will still have to be registered, and some 1500 then further authorized.

In the revised version of the draft legislation, the agency has given up the idea of getting preliminary safety reports on all chemicals within a year, and has eased registration requirements for chemicals produced or imported in smaller volumes, for those used in R&D, for many intermediaries, and for polymers. The revised rules are available at — Paula Doe, European Editor


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