European industry and competitivity ministers have got down to their first in-depth discussion of a plan to safety-test 30,000 commonly used chemicals.
Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen is in charge of the controversial draft law from the side of the EU executive, which first proposed the system one year ago, called REACH, which stands for registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals. While seeking to improve health and safety protection, the aim is to make sure that REACH is functional, and that small and medium-sized companies do not collapse under it. The industry lobby said earlier this year the law could strangle Europe’s chemical producers in red tape and result in the loss of its world leadership position to other continents, where substances banned in Europe would be produced. The United States says REACH would disrupt global trade and hurt innovation.