The revision of the EU's chemical substances policy aims at
improving the testing of chemical substances before putting them on
the market. Currently, around 30,000 chemicals are used in all kind
of products without ever having undergone serious public testing.
Worries over the impact of these chemicals on the environment and
public health have led to this revision.
The key elements of the proposed legislation
- the introduction of the "REACH" system to Register, Evaluate
and Authorise new CHemicals under the supervision of a new European
- the obligation for the chemical industry to provide safety data
and risk assessments of the new chemicals it puts on the
- lesser registration requirements or exemptions for chemical
substances used to produce other chemicals;
- provisions to reduce animal testing.
For the whole of industry, the revision of the
chemicals policy has become the test case for the EU's seriousness
about its Lisbon agenda of becoming the most competitive knowledge
economy by 2010. As chemical substances are used in every product
put on the market (e.g. more than 10,000 individual substances are
involved in the production of a car), the proposals affect more
than just the chemicals industry.