Why the socio-economic analysis within REACH isn’t “socio” at all

The authorisation process, once put in place to make sure that REACH could accommodate specific exemptions, have become the back door for companies in order to continue their use of hazardous chemicals.

The fact that only a single authorisation has ever been denied during the twelve years of REACH is baffling. Especially since the aim of the chemicals policy is to phase out hazardous substances and replace them with safer alternatives.

How is it possible that all of these applications for authorisation are being granted?

Today, ChemSec publishes a report on one of the reasons for this counterproductivity, namely how the socio-economic analyses (SEAs) are performed within this legal framework.

This is how it works. In the European Union, companies that wish to use hazardous chemicals, so-called Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs), need to apply for an authorisation. These authorisations are meant to be granted only when it can be proven that the chemical is used safely, or when it can be argued that the pros outweigh the cons and when there are no alternatives available on the market.

As part of the application process, the company is tasked with providing a socio-economic analysis. But since the burden of proof lies on the company itself to provide this information, it makes for a very one-sided analysis.



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