Almost within REACH

Recently the European Unions Parliament Committee on Environment votes yes (42 out of 63) for the current version of the REACH which entails:

* Mandatory substitution of the most toxic substances whenever this is economically and socially acceptable;

* a review of authorisations granted to these chemicals every five years in order that they are eventually replaced;

* a 'Duty of care' principle to ensure that producers and importers of chemicals take responsibility for the safety of their products when the risks can be "reasonably foreseen";

* the introduction of a European 'REACH quality label', to be proposed by the Commission after REACH is approved, so that products complying with the EU law can be easily identified by consumers;

* the promotion of alternatives to animal testing, and;

* support measures for small businesses.

Now there are two more hurdles before it can come into force:
* 14 November 2006: Expected vote in Parliament plenary.
* 4 December 2006: Probable vote in Council (Competitiveness) and final approval of REACH.

We can only hope that the Parliament and Council will come to their senses in time ...


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