Draft legislation on chemicals is currently being discussion by the European Union. The legislation will cover the R egistration, E valuation and A uthorisation of Ch emicals and is known as REACH. REACH aims to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of chemicals, put the burden on manufacturers to show that a chemical can be safely used and control or even ban the most hazardous chemicals.
In brief, manufacturers and importers of any chemicals produced or imported at over one tonne per year and on the market for more than two decades (an estimated 30,000 chemicals) will have to register such chemicals with a central agency and provide data on the characteristics and uses of the chemicals. This information will be evaluated, and the most hazardous chemicals of “very high concern” will be subjected to a system of authorisation ( see Questions 8, 9 and 10 ). Around 1500 chemicals may end up in this authorisation category.
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