De Europese Groenen wijzen op
de gevaren voor de volksgezondheid als de Commissie vasthoudt aan haar huidig voorstel voor een nieuwe wetgeving
Insufficient protection against dangerous chemicals in drafts for new chemicals legislation
Chemicals - Sustainable development out of REACH
The Greens /EFA in the European Parliament today warned that the draft regulation for a revision of chemicals legislation would fail to protect people and the environment against the most dangerous substances. Members of the European Commission will be asked tomorrow to give the green light to the principles of the new EU chemicals legislation commonly referred to as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restrictions of Chemicals) The Greens/ EFA are also extremely worried by the threat of further delays that would prevent this Parliament from completing a first reading on the legislation.
Inger Schoerling, Green Member of the Environment Committee and rapporteur on the White Paper for a future Chemicals Strategy said:
"It seems that industry has been successful in creating so many holes in the centre piece of the new legislation - the authorisation system - that it now resembles a Swiss cheese and perpetuates the flaws of the current system. Authorisation was meant to confine very dangerous substances to safe uses. But according to the Commission's plans, industry would only have to fulfil an ill-defined concept of "adequate control", or apply existing legislation based on an inappropriate approach to allow them to continue releasing highly dangerous substances into the environment. We do not need business as usual under another name but a completely new approach that effectively protects human health and the environment against dangerous substances."
Inger Schoerling added:
"The way the Commission wants to address the issue of substitution of substances of very high concern leaves me speechless. The existence of alternatives would be considered insufficient grounds to refuse authorisation. This is in complete contradiction to the demands of the Parliament, which asked for full application of the substitution principle in order to stimulate innovation and move towards a sustainable chemicals industry. The Commission's approach amounts to an 'anti-substitution principle', which will effectively keep sustainable development - the development and use of safe alternatives - out of REACH."
Alexander de Roo, Green Member and Vice-President of the Environment Committee stated:
"It seems that the economic interests of the chemicals industry persist even longer in the heads of Commissioners than the concern about persistent substances in our bodies. The REACH system as currently proposed will not reach out to protect the next generations. The Commission proposed to allow the use of highly dangerous substances if socio-economic benefits outweigh the risk to human health and/or the environment. It is fine to consider socio-economics, but only when deciding HOW to phase out the use of a substance of very high concern, not IF. I hoped that the Commission had learnt something about the difficulties of risk assessment, but this was wishful thinking. The experience of banning certain brominated flame retardants for example showed that it is virtually impossible to assess the risk of the contamination of mother's milk with persistent and toxic substances."
Alexander de Roo added:
"We call on the Commission to revise the latest drafts accordingly and to adopt the long overdue proposal before the summer to allow this Parliament to complete a first reading. The new chemicals policy has already been debated intensively over several years. If Commissioners give in to industry lobbying and prolong the period foreseen for the internet consultation, this Parliament will de facto be circumvented and the legislative process delayed by at least another year. Such caving in to industry would not only be a hostile act towards this Parliament, but worse, it would be unacceptable from the point of view of the protection of the environment and human health."