STRASBOURG, France (Dec. 13) — The European Parliament has voted into law the REACH —Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals — proposals covering thousands of chemicals used by industry, including those used in rubber processing.
The regulation — which obliges producers to register all chemical substances produced or imported in volumes of more than 1 metric ton a year — will take force progressively starting in June 2007 and be enacted fully in 11 years from then.
Cefic, the European Chemicals industry federation, said it is committed to making the legislation work.
"The challenge during the legislative period has been to ensure the workability of the legislation, so that it can deliver real improvements. In this respect we regret the unnecessary requirements added to the authorization element of REACH," Cefic Director General Alain Perroy said.
"The European chemical industry will see REACH as an opportunity to demonstrate that companies have a solid knowledge of chemicals and strong product management practices to ensure chemical safety. The industry wants to make REACH work; Cefic will play an active role in helping companies to comply with the regulation."
The calendar for registration depends on the risk of the substance and the quantity produced. All covered substances will have to be registered by 2018. REACH also will create a chemicals agency, to be based in Helsinki, Finland, which will be responsible for the authorization process.
The legislation was approved by a vote of 529 for, 98 against and 24 abstentions. A series of amendments by the Green Party and others were rejected by similar margins.
Greenpeace, the environmental activist group, said the legislation has major loopholes, citing the threshhold of 1 ton/year for registration and the provision that allows companies to use toxic chemicals subject to the ill-defined restriction of "adequate control."