Precautionary in principle, flawed in fact: European Commission review accepts environmental groups’ criticism of chemical regulation

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations, with around 140 members in more than 30 countries.

Responding to the review’s publication, Tatiana Santos, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Chemicals said:

“European laws to control the use of hazardous chemicals have enormous potential, but cheap and dangerous chemicals are still being used when safer alternatives exist. The Commission’s review accepts criticisms that we have been making for years, including that Europe is set to miss the 2020 Sustainable Development Goals. This is now the chance to step up action to ensure Europe’s chemical regulations deliver a safer environment for everyone.”

The effective implementation of the REACH regulation should guarantee a high level of protection for people in Europe with more than 17,000 substances registered with the European Chemicals Agency so far.

However, the Commission review highlights problems with substance registration dossiers, the failure to correctly apply the crucial precautionary and burden of proof principles and specific issues with REACH processes, particularly evaluation, restriction and authorisation. 



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