Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 08:19:29 AM EST
BBC:New European chemical law passed
The European Parliament has backed a deal, reached with EU governments, on wide-ranging legislation to control the use of toxic chemicals in industry. The draft law will come into force in 2007, and is designed to make firms prove the many chemicals they use in products from cars to clothes are safe.
It comes after wrangling between environmentalists wanting action and firms seeking to avoid laborious rules. EU nations will have until 2018 to implement the new rules.
The system for registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (Reach) demands that firms provide lists of the chemicals they use and list any possible risks. A newly-established agency in Finland will oversee the way the firms assess the 30,000 chemicals they use.
The register will initially focus on the most toxic chemicals and those produced in the largest quantity.
Manufacturers will have to come up with plans to replace the most hazardous chemicals, but they will not be banned outright as environmentalists had hoped.
While the EU said the deal improved the safety standard of chemicals, green lobbyists were angered by what they saw as the EU bowing to industry pressure.
more, after the break
From the diaries - whataboutbob
Well, not much more to add except to note, with much irony, a voice of the free-marketeers looking for handouts.
fter the legislation was passed the UK's Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called on its government to help small firms.
"This regulation will affect small businesses that manufacture or import chemicals in the EU as well as those using chemical preparations in their industrial or commercial activities," it said.
It said that the cost of complying with the new rules would hit small firms "especially hard" because they were "least able to absorb costs or pass them on to their customers, unlike larger businesses".