Brussels/Helsinki, International — Despite grand words from the European Commission today about speeding up the phase out of dangerous chemicals under the REACH legislation, it will still take 100 years for all hazardous chemicals to be phased out, Greenpeace warned.
Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss said: "Today's announcement
has widened the pool of potential chemicals to be phased out, but
failed to speed up the process. REACH is supposed to ensure
dangerous chemicals are phased out and replaced with safer
alternatives. But nearly three years after it entered into force,
the Commission has not made a decision on a single very hazardous
chemical. It is scandalous that the Commission remains so sluggish
while we are exposed to these toxics."
The announcement by environment commissioner Janez Potocnik and
industry commissioner Antonio Tajani is limited to an agreement
that over the next three years, 106 hazardous chemicals will be
considered for possible phase out. But the commissioners have not
announced how many of these would actually be phased out. They also
failed to address the question of how to deal with the one thousand
plus hazardous chemicals, including substances that can cause
cancer and harm fertility, allowed in the EU today. At current
speed it will take over 30 years before the EU considers all known
hazardous chemicals for phase out and over 100 years for these to
Since REACH (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation,
Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) entered into force in
June 2007, the Commission's environment and industry departments
have disagreed over the rules that the chemicals industry must
follow when applying for authorizations to use hazardous chemicals.
Because of these disagreements over the relevant guidelines for
authorisation, not a single hazardous chemical has yet been put
forward for phase out by the Commission.
In Helsinki: Jorgo Riss – Greenpeace EU director:
+32 (0)496 122109 (mobile),
Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications manager:
+32 (0)2 274 1903, +32 (0)496 156229 (mobile),