REACH Improving Chemical Safety, Report Shows

The REACH program, implemented five years ago, has made more than 30,000 documents available about chemicals on the EU market.

A new report shows that chemical use in Europe has become safer because of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals), which was first applied five years ago to chemical usage standards. A European Commission report finds the program has been beneficial.

With REACH, more information about chemicals is available to purchasers via information that spans 30,601 files from the European Chemicals Agency. These files describe the properties and uses of 7,884 chemicals that are on the market. In fact, a survey shows that 61 percent of Europeans believe chemical safety has progressed in the last 10 years.

"This report shows that REACH works," said European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and Janez Potočnik, commissioner for Environment, in a statement on the European Union website. "Companies are facing their responsibilities and as a result, we have better data about the chemicals they produce and place on the market."

The REACH program is of great importance to the EU, the generator of about 21 percent of the world’s chemicals market.

However, officials believe that while REACH has contributed to improvements, there is still progress to be made. "We are off to a good start, and this would not have been possible without persistent efforts by the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA," Tajani and Potočnik said. "However, there is still work to be done to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment. We are committed to maintaining a safe and sustainable chemical industry in Europe. REACH, the most comprehensive chemicals legislation in the world, can help us achieve this goal and ease the free circulation of chemicals in the internal market. With REACH, our chemical industry can become a world leader in innovation."

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