A new guidebook targeted at women has been launched to promote consumers’ rights under the EU’s chemicals regulation REACH.
The pocket-sized guide, launched on 25 November, was compiled by ‘Women in Europe for a Common Future’, or WECF, a network of 80 organisations involved with health and environment, poverty reduction and sustainable development issues. The publication aims to inform women – the largest group of shoppers in the EU – about their rights as consumers regarding the REACH regulation.
“We are very excited to make this information available to women anywhere in the EU”, said WECF chemicals expert Daniela Rosche, the guide’s author.
REACH entered into force on 1 June 2007 after over four years of tough negotiations between the EU institutions and industry, environmental and consumer groups (EURACTIV 31/05/07), and obliges companies to provide information about potentially hazardous chemicals in the products they are marketing (see our Links Dossier).
Rosche added: “I strongly encourage women to go and ask companies and retailers about carcinogens or […] chemicals in consumer products”, explaining that because such chemicals do not have to be replaced even as safer alternatives become available, it is “up to us as consumers to let companies and retailers know […] we do not want such chemicals in consumer products”.
Meanwhile, the Parliament’s environment committee has given its backing to Belgian Geert Dancet as the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), following his appearance at a hearing on 21 November.
During the hearing, Dancet stressed the independence of the ECHA and promised to keep Parliament regularly updated about its work. MEPs expressed their hope that “the future relationship between the committee and the agency will be built on mutual trust”.
Dancet has held the position on an interim basis since 1 June 2007, and will now serve a five-year term after being formally appointed on 17 December. Prior to the creation of the agency, he was employed by the Commission as head of its REACH unit between 2004 and 2006.