A study performed by US academics on behalf of the Nordic
Council of Ministers says REACH will cost around 0.06% of annual
sales revenues to the European chemicals industry.
US researchers from Boston’s Tufts University have released
a new study – “The true costs of REACH” – that
will add fuel to the controversy over the costs and benefits of
Published on 13 October by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the
study says the total direct costs of REACH to Europe’s chemicals
industry would not exceed 4 billion euros over 11 years, or an
annual cost of “around 0.06% of the industry’s sales revenues”. In
its current, less ambitious version, the academics estimate the
direct costs of REACH at 3.5 billion euros.
Bringing indirect costs into account – those passed on to
‘downstream’ users such as carmakers – the researchers project
total costs “should be no more than 1.5 – 2.3 times the direct
Commenting on their findings, the scientists say “economic
analysis confirms that costs of this magnitude are unlikely to harm
European industry”. They add that the ‘Storm’ scenario put forward
in a previous study by Arthur D. Little for the German chemicals
industry, which implies that total costs are 650 times the direct
costs, show “implausible results, based on numerous errors and
They further argue that, since regulatory requirement will be
eased on small-volume new substances, REACH will help
by “boosting innovation and improving the competitive position
of European producers”. Furthermore, they add that “early action on
environmental hazards will lighten the burden on downstream users
and create substantial savings in areas including worker safety,
waste disposal, remediation and liability claims”.
All in all, they conclude, “European industry will gain the
competitive advantage of being the first to move towards cleaner
and safer production and use of chemicals”.