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Reach Is Adopted by European Union Arm

Approval puts chemical regulation policy on track to go into operation in 2008

by Patricia Short
December 15, 2005

In one more milestone toward implementation of REACH in Europe, the European Council—the decision-making arm of the European Union—has unanimously adopted a version of the chemicals policy, which has been in the works for three years.

According to the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, the policy for registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals will ensure that the gaps in existing information on the hazardous properties of some 30,000 chemicals are filled and that the necessary information on the safe use of substances is transmitted along the industrial supply chain.

The new European Union regulation will replace 40 existing legal acts and create a single system for all chemical substances. It will introduce a new European Chemicals Agency to be established in Helsinki, Finland, to manage the registration of substances through a new database.

REACH is now expected to be approved under the Austrian presidency of the EU in May 2006. It will be returned to the European Parliament for a second reading, with approval expected by fall 2006. It will then go into force in spring 2007. European legislators expect it to take about a year for the chemicals agency to get going, so REACH is expected to actually become operational from 2008 onward.


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