The European Parliament's Environment Committee agreed on Oct. 10 to strengthen legislation on the registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals (REACH). The most contentious change would, in many cases, require substitution of less toxic compounds for chemicals deemed to be the "most hazardous substances." These are defined under REACH as chemicals that cause cancer, reproductive problems, or persistent adverse health effects. Under the revised legislation, when there are no suitable alternatives to a "most hazardous substance" and the social or economic value of its use outweighs its risk, the chemical could be authorized for tightly controlled use for up to five years. The committee also adopted what is called "duty of care" into REACH. This provision means that manufacturers, importers, and downstream users of chemicals would have to prevent, limit, or remedy any adverse effect of these compounds on health or the environment. The legislation next goes before the whole Parliament, which functions as the lower house of the European Union legislature, for a vote no earlier than the week of Nov. 13. The EU Council of Ministers, which acts as the upper house, has not yet approved a final version of REACH.