On 27 May 2009 ECHA held its second REACH stakeholder meeting in Helsinki, Finland.
The meeting was attended by companies, industry pressure groups, trade unions, public interest groups and representatives from 33 countries, including many from outside the EU.
Speaking at the meeting, Toxics Policy Advisor for the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) Lisette Van Vliet stated that the ECHA’s list of 15 Candidate substances of very high concern was too short and being developed too slowly. She highlighted the more robust list drawn up by NGOs, known as the S.I.N.* list 1.0(*Substitute it Now of 267 high concern chemicals which fulfil REACH criteria. She repeated the call of HEAL, ChemTrust and WWF for cumulative risk assessment under REACH to account for risks posed by multiple chemicals known to have common adverse effects and which can be more harmful when present simultaneously.
These chemicals, to which people are simultaneously exposed, are potentially more harmful to human health than has been traditionally recognised by methods which assess the risks of and establish ‘safe levels’ for individual chemicals separately.
The European Confederation of Trade Unions also presented their REACH Priority list, which when combined with the S.I.N. list covers 408 high concern chemicals, and ranks chemicals known to cause recognised occupational diseases.
The presentations drew complaints from industry representatives, who argued that the civil society lists would cause confusion to downstream users. These comments stood in stark contrast to the success these lists are having with pro-active companies eager to eliminate harmful substances from their product lines, and member states looking to identify the next chemicals for the Candidate list, (from which chemicals are subsequently prioritised for the authorization process).
|It is estimated that somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 chemicals of the 30,000 chemicals which will be registered under REACH will qualify as substances of very high concern and need to go through the authorization process.|
570 people from around the world took part in ECHA’s Stakeholders’ D
Written on 6 June 2009.