- REACHing 2013
- Lead registrants network and share experiences about successfully leading a SIEF
- Lead registrants share their views
- Get organised for joint submission and decide on the chemical safety report
- Communication in the supply chain: Making uses known to registrants well in advance of the registration deadline
- Chesar tool - in support of your safety assessments
- Industry experience with the QSAR Toolbox
- ECHA reporting on nanomaterials to the European Commission
- ECHA and the Member States align views on the joint task of evaluation
- Finnish and Swedish Ministers for Environment show keen interest in ECHA's activities
- New Head of Corporate Services
- ECHA Stakeholders have many important roles
- A REACH story: The tale of a political success
- REACH implementation in Slovenia: Breaking barriers through cooperation
- REACH and CLP enforcement in an Italian context
- Danish EU presidency working towards a green economy
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Article related to: People and perspectives
Danish EU presidency working towards a green economy
Denmark took over the EU presidency on 1 January 2012. Promoting green and sustainable growth is among the Danish key priorities and closely linked to chemicals policies. To achieve better regulation of chemicals, specific areas of concern will be addressed, such as nanomaterials, combination effects of chemicals and endocrine disruptors.
Mr Henrik Søren Larsen, Director for Chemicals at the Danish Environment Protection Agency emphasises that REACH - when fully implemented - has already improved the EU chemicals policy: "I would highlight the industry's obligation to provide standard information on the intrinsic properties of substances and the public availability of this data. Other important developments are the duty to communicate throughout the supply chain as well as the obligation to document and implement safe manufacture and use, based on a systematic assessment of risks."
Despite the progress, the Danish authorities point out that there are still areas of special concern that are not fully covered by the existing regulation: in particular issues related to endocrine disruptors, combination effects of chemicals and nanomaterials. "Industry could act proactively on these issues and show that they take responsibility for the substances they manufacture and place on the market", Mr Søren Larsen says. "For example in the registration dossiers, very little information is available on nanomaterials. Nothing prevents companies to address the specific properties of nanoforms of their substances. The industry has a huge interest in preserving their investment. The best way to do so is to show that they take chemicals safety seriously - also for nanoforms. By taking up such responsibility, the industry could prevent that different national regulations will be put in place in the Member States until EU-wide legislation is agreed."
| Henrik Søren Larsen. |
Image copyright: Danish Environment Protection Agency.
Proactivity needed from industry and authorities
Mr Søren Larsen continues that companies should also take the initiative on endocrine disrupters and combination effects on chemicals: "On endocrine disrupters, industry could voluntarily propose testing using the extended one-generation reproductive toxicity study (EOGRTS) and also address neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity. Regarding combination effects, the industry could ensure that their exposure scenarios show safe use even when assuming that other substances will contribute to toxicity. That could happen, for example, by showing that the risk quotient in the risk assessment of that use is significantly lower than one."
"Also ECHA should always accept the scientific progress and proactively work for use of new test methods such as the EOGRTS. These address whether substances have endocrine disrupting properties and at the same time save a huge number of laboratory animals. As regards nanomaterials, ECHA should continue to pursue information - or lack of information - in registration dossiers and investigate the need for substance evaluation. Concerning combination effects, I encourage ECHA to revise its guidance promoting the use of a risk quotient smaller than one to be able to show safe use even if other substances and uses contribute to the total risk. ECHA could also identify groups of substances that should be assessed together in e.g. substance evaluation. This would be based on the assumption that the total risk of these substances should be assessed by dose addition of the individual substances belonging to that group", he adds.
Initiatives for 2012
For 2012, Denmark has provided additional funding for establishing an inventory on nanomaterials and to investigate consumer exposure and environmental effects of nanomaterials. Another initiative is to map out the potential need for further regulation and information of 40 substances and groups of substances on the Danish List of Undesirable Substances. "We expect that the outcome of such a project will result in proposals for restrictions, substances of very high concern, harmonised classification and labelling or substance evaluation for some of these substances", Mr Søren Larsen clarifies.
Both projects run over four years. "We also have a project where we look at whether the 22 potential endocrine disrupters on the Danish SIN list and four other substances meet the criteria that Denmark has proposed for identifying endocrine disrupting chemicals. If they meet the criteria, we will consider to propose them as substances of very high concern to be included under Article 57(f) of REACH."
To further explore ideas on sustainable chemicals during the Danish presidency, a conference is planned by the European Environment Agency in the spring of 2012.
More information about the Danish EU presidency.
Better regulation of chemicals
Innovation and development of new products are necessary for growth in the future, but this also entails health risks, in particular in connection with developing chemicals and technologies whose impact on health are as yet unknown. Therefore, the EU environmental policy should be continually tightened so as to provide maximum protection to humans, animals and nature against harmful drugs and chemicals. In the future, there will be a particular need to focus attention on regulating combinations of chemicals that affect human health. The EU must be able to act quickly and translate new knowledge into specific prevention and common policies as soon as harmful effects on human health can be documented. (From the Programme of the Danish presidency)
Interview by Tiiu Bräutigam
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