24 November 2023

Ihe production of chemical products has multiplied by fifty since 1950 and is expected to triple again by 2050. The planetary limit for chemical products has been crossed!

In 2012, the United Nations environment program amounted to 236 billion dollars (about 216.2 billion euros) the global cost of chemicals mismanagement, with the bulk of this cost borne by health systems and individuals. In 2015, and for the European Union alone, other researchers estimated the economic costs linked to endocrine disruptors at 157 billion euros per year!

Behind these figures unfortunately hide degraded ecosystems and thousands of patients suffering from chronic diseases linked to chemical pollution.

Many weaknesses

reach (English acronym (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) for registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemical substances) is a European regulation (regulation n° 1907/2006) which came into force in 2007 to secure the manufacture and use of chemical substances in European industry. This involves identifying, evaluating and controlling chemical substances manufactured, imported and placed on the European market.

Also read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers “The postponement of the European plan to ban toxic substances reflects pressure from industrial lobbies”

Many weaknesses of the Reach regulation have been regularly pointed out, in particular the complexity and the slowness of the evaluation processes, considerably limiting the effectiveness of the regulation in restricting and substituting the most dangerous substances.

The European Commission adopted its strategy on chemicals for sustainable development on October 14, 2020. This strategy aims to better protect citizens and the environment against harmful chemicals and to promote the use of safer substances. This strategy should lead to the revision of the Reach regulation.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “The chemical industry lobbies have won”: the European Commission buries the plan to ban substances toxic to health and the environment

We learned with concern on October 19, 2022 that, despite strong expectations, the Reach revision proposal had just been postponed to the fourth quarter of 2023. This postponement effectively threatens the adoption of this revision before the end of the legislature. European Union – because its subsequent adoption by the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament could hardly take place before the European elections in spring 2024. The decision could therefore be postponed to the next legislature, in a political context that we cannot predict.

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