June 19, 2003
Chemical Reactions: The Proposed Overhaul of European Chemical Policy, and the US Implications
On May 7, the European Commission released the long-awaited draft legislation that could transform the management of chemicals within and beyond the expanding borders of Europe. The proposed REACH system (for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) would place new responsibilities on companies that manufacture, import, or market chemicals in the EU. Some from health and environmental groups claim REACH could set a new global standard for corporate environmental responsibility, although others remain dissatisfied with the current draft. On the other side, European and American industry groups have voiced strong concerns about the costs of REACH, its potential impacts on international trade, and the precedent it could set for future environmental decisions.
On June 19, ELI held an an Associate Seminar on the proposed direction of EU chemical policy and the implications for the United States.Christine Federlin (First Secretary for Transport, Environment, and Energy, Delegation of the European Commission) outlined the details of REACH and provided the EU perspective on this growing controversy. Daryl Ditz (Senior Program Officer, Toxics Program, World Wildlife Fund), and Mike Walls (Senior Counsel, American Chemistry Council) addressed the potential opportunities and risks that REACH could present for U.S. companies, consumers, and policy makers.