In an article published on June 11, 2018 by the newspaper The Guardian, correspondent Matthew Taylor informed about a new study by environmental law organization ClientEarth on the European Commission’s (EC) efficiency in adopting decisions on substances of very high concern (SVHCs) under REACH. According to the study, the EC’s “decisions have suffered from unreasonable delays, which resulted in the continuous use of some substances known to be harmful.”
Alice Bernard, lawyer at ClientEarth, stated in the organization’s press release of the same day: “Once the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) concludes that risks from specific chemicals are not acceptable, the Commission has a duty to act quickly.” She added that “[e]very day lost in this inaction means more exposure to harmful chemicals, increasing the likelihood of notably cancer, impairment of fertility, as well as long term catastrophic damage to our ecosystems.”
In its review, ClientEarth highlighted the case of DEHP, a reprotoxic and endocrine disrupting plasticizer (FPF reported). ECHA concluded in 2014 and 2015 that “the companies requesting authorization for DEHP were using it without adequately controlling its risks for workers exposed during its production.” However, the EC has yet to adopt a final decision regarding this situation and “companies remain free to continue using the chemical as they see fit.”
ClientEarth has written a letter to the EC sharing its findings and calling on the executive “to use its power and resources to correct its maladministration and speed up the authorization and restriction processes under the REACH regulations.” In response, a spokesperson for the EC stated that the Commission takes human health very seriously and dismissed any accusations that it ranks business interests higher than health and the environment.
Matthew Taylor (June 11, 2018). “Brussels criticised for delays in banning toxic chemicals.” The Guardian
ClientEarth (June 11, 2018). “European Commission’s delayed chemicals decisions endangering human health and environment.”
Chemical Watch (June 13, 2018). “ClientEarth slams ‘unreasonable’ delays on REACH decisions.”
ClientEarth (June 7, 2018). “ClientEarth shows that the Commission takes an unreasonable time to adopt chemical decisions.”