This press release is brought to you by the European Commission.

The use of chemicals in Europe has become considerably safer since the REACH regulation entered into force, according to a European Commission report published today. More readily available information about chemical substances on the market and better targeted risk management measures mean that risks from substances registered under REACH have significantly decreased. The trend is expected to continue, as industry is continuously working towards finding substitutes for the most hazardous chemicals. Five years after REACH’s entry into force, implementation is in full swing. Companies have now registered 30,601 files with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) describing the uses and properties of 7,884 chemical substances manufactured or placed on the market. According to a Eurobarometer survey published today, 61% of Europeans think that chemicals are now safer than 10 years ago.

The report acknowledges the costs related to the administration of REACH and their impact on SMEs, but industry also recognizes the positive economic effects for their business. By further harmonising the internal market, REACH has been a key driver for growth and competitiveness for the chemical industry. To further promote the competitiveness of the European chemical industry, the Commission will soon propose to reduce registration fees for SMEs.

  • he report makes recommendations to improve REACH implementation. These include improving the quality of registration dossiers, enhancing the use of safety data sheets as a central risk management tool, and addressing issues related to cost sharing within Substance Information Exchange Forums (SIEFs).
  • The report recommends reducing the financial and administrative burden on SMEs in order to ensure the proportionality of legislation and to assist them to fulfil all their REACH obligations.
  • There are no major overlaps with other EU legislation.
  • Considerable efforts to develop alternative methods to animal testing have been made and will continue: since 2007, the Commission has made available € 330 million to fund research in this area.
  • Enforcement could be improved. As this is the responsibility of the Member States, the report recommends that Member States reinforce coordination amongst them.
  • Although the report identifies a need for some adjustments to the legislation, the Commission wants to ensure legislative stability and predictability for European businesses. No changes to REACH’s main terms are proposed at present.

For more information and the full press release please refer to the link above.