The European Parliament has adopted the compromise it negotiated with Council on the new regulation for chemicals, REACH, which will oblige producers to register all those chemical substances produced or imported above a total quantity of 1 tonne per year. Registration will affect about 30,000 substances. For more hazardous substances, producers will have to submit a substitution plan to replace them with safer alternatives.
When no alternative exists, producers will have to present a research plan aimed at finding one. The compromise package agreed with the Council and tabled by 4 political groups (EPP-ED, PES, ALDE and UEN), was approved with 529 in favour, 98 against and 24 abstentions. The regulation will enter into force progressively from June 2007, and the registration process will take 11 years to be completed. The calendar for registration depends on the risk of the substance and the quantity produced. All covered substances will have to be registered by 2018. REACH also creates a new Chemicals Agency, to be based in Helsinki, which will be responsible for the authorisation process.
Registration will affect about 30,000 substances. The calendar for registration depends on the risk of the substance and the quantity produced. All covered substances will have to be registered by 2018.
European Parliament President Josep Borrell commenting on the EP adoption of REACH said: "This vote, on one of the most complex texts in the history of the EU, sets up an essential piece of legislation to protect public health and the environment from the risks of chemical substances, without threatening European competitiveness. It offers EU citizens true protection against the multitude of toxic substances in everyday life in Europe."
REACH will replace the current dual system which differentiates between: - "new" chemicals, i.e. the roughly 3,000 substances placed on the market after 1981, the year since which formal authorisation has been required by Community legislation, - "existing" substances, placed on the market before 1981 and numbering around 100,000. REACH replaces the current 40 legislative texts with a single regulation establishing a single system called REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals).