Posted on 29 August 2007
An activists's guide to using and improving the new EU chemicals legislationIn 1998, at an informal meeting of the Environment Ministers of EU Member States in Chester, UK, Ministers expressed their concern about the lack of action on hazardous substances and highlighted the need for a new policy on chemicals.
This was the beginning of what became known as REACH – a new regulation on chemicals which would shift frompermissive and patchy legislation to a more comprehensive system based on sound information and the precautionary principle. The regulation was intended to improve the protection of human health and the environment fromthe adverse effects of hazardous chemicals.
This handbook aims to explain how REACH will work, what main issues are at stake and how the law will be implemented, i.e. put into practice by the authorities. The guide also highlights opportunities to make the most of REACH by using the new provisions that were fought for – and the opportunities to improve the legislation. It points to provisions and mechanisms that NGOs and citizens can use to promote safer chemicals and lead
ultimately to better protection of human health and the environment fromt he adverse impact of hazardous chemicals.