New rules to regulate chemicals in the European Union appear set to enter into force next year.
Negotiators from the European Parliament’s three main factions and EU governments have struck a deal. The draft law is known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals). It is designed to make companies prove that substances in every-day products such as cars, clothes, toys or paint are safe. But Leftist and Green lawmakers slammed the deal as a sell-out to the chemical industry, because, they said, it will continue to allow hazardous chemicals even when safer alternatives exist. A liberal spokesman, on the other hand, insisted the deal would require persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic chemicals be removed from the market if suitable alternatives existed. The assembly holds its definitive vote on the deal on December 13th. Procedurally, this follows the deal struck beforehand. Member States will then formally give their green light. Even supporters of the deal conceded that concerns over testing on animals had not been resolved. Under REACH, the properties of roughly 30,000 chemicals produced in or imported into the European Union will have to be registered with a central agency. The most dangerous, such as those which are carcinogenic, will require testing and authorisation.