« In an open letter to the European Commission, Echa, NGOs and industry, the Danish Chemicals Forum has called for a “sharper focus” on EU chemicals initiatives.
Signatories to the letter, which was issued to coincide with today’s EU Presidency conference in Brussels on the future of EU chemicals policy, include the environmental policy directors of the Danish Chamber of Commerce and the Confederation of Danish Industry, as well as the managing director of the Danish Plastics Federation.
Another signatory, Danish Environment Minister, Eva Kjer Hansen, opened the Brussels conference, welcoming the audience of government and industry experts on behalf of the eight EU member states and Norway that had called for the event.
Speaking on behalf of her own government, Ms Kjer Hansen said although the registration of some 13,000 substances was a major achievement, it was worrying that two-thirds of registration dossiers did not fully comply with the rules – singling out the lack of data on toxicity for reproduction.
« Without adequate registrations I doubt REACH will ever reach its goals, » she said. Rather than « no data, no market », the Regulation’s principle seemed to be « no data, no worries ».
She described the agreement at the recent UN chemicals summit, ICCM4, that more action is needed to meet the goal of sound chemicals management by 2020, as « an understatement ».
And the fact that articles containing substances of very high concern (SVHCs) can be imported into Europe was « a major flaw » that should be « a top priority for the European Commission ».
The Danish Chemicals Forum – made up of representatives from authorities and business and consumer organisations – was created by the government to help companies phase out dangerous chemicals from consumer products.
Among the steps the Forum called for are:
- Echa to have the power to reject inadequate or incomplete registration dossiers if discussions with the registrant fail to solve the issues;
- the pace of SVHC phase-out to be accelerated so that the European Commission’s roadmap to include all relevant SVHCs on the candidate list before 2020 is implemented;
- companies should inform consumers and other stakeholders about SVHCs so they can make “informed and active choices”;
- on endocrine disrupting chemicals, the Commission should “draw up a plan to expedite and describe the initiatives necessary to achieve the goals for common criteria already set”. Also, the Commission and authorities should “ensure that challenges related to endocrine disruptors be elevated to an international debate within the OECD and the UN”.
- on nanomaterials it wants the Commission “to take the measures necessary by 2015 for safe use of nanomaterials by amending the annexes to REACH so that, in the upcoming registrations, the industry knows how nanomaterials are to be described and how it is to demonstrate that the materials are safe.” DG GROW recently told the European Parliament’s Environment Committee the proposals are expected soon . »