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The EU chemicals regulation REACH is providing new information about the production and use of chemicals in Europe after ChemSec and ClientEarth filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has since late 2012 disseminated the information registered by companies from a wide range of sectors around the world about their production or imports of chemicals.

ECHA had previously refused to make this information publicly available, according to ChemSec, saying it was subject to confidentiality claims.

ECHA officials told EurActiv that it did not disclose the names of registrants because there was an ongoing discussion as to whether the information could be published at all. Article 119 2(d) of REACH says that such information should be disseminated unless the registrant has submitted a valid confidentiality claim.

“The decision to publish registrants’ names was therefore taken at the end of a careful and considered discussion process. The data was not published due to an ongoing court proceeding,” said Mikko Väänänen, a press officer at ECHA.

Some level of confidentiality is considered essential by companies to safeguard their business. CEFIC, a trade group which represents European chemicals manufacturers, complained recently that publishing company names against toxicity data sheets might give overseas rivals an insight into their innovation strategies.

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