On May 21-22, 2019, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) hosted the “Safer Chemicals” conference at their headquarters in Helsinki, Finland that “offered an insight into the current priorities for the regulation of chemicals in the EU.” The two-day event featured speakers from ECHA, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national regulatory agencies, and industry. Sessions covered topics such as improving compliance of REACH registration data, tackling substances of concern, and improving safe use of chemicals. Slides and video recordings of the presentations have been made available on ECHA’s website.

On May 23-24, 2019, the third Helsinki Chemicals Forum took place and brought together panelists from a wide range of international regulatory agencies, NGOs, industry associations, and academic institutions. The event’s program included panel discussions on topics such as risk management for substances of very high concern (SVHCs), chemical grouping and avoiding regrettable substitution, plastics and circularity, and the quality of and access to data on chemicals. In an article published by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, the European Commission is reported to have emphasized the importance of ensuring consumer trust in the transition to a circular economy with respect to chemicals. Daniel Calleja, director general of the Commission’s DG Environment, used the example of flame retardants in toys as an issue that can “destroy consumer trust and support,” and he called for the phasing out of SVHCs and for industry to avoid these chemicals in products and ensure they do not return in recycled products.

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ECHA (May 2019). “Safer Chemicals – ECHA Conference.”

Helsinki Chemicals Forum (May 2019). “Programme 2019.”

Luke Buxton (May 23, 2019). “Circular economy approach must secure consumer trust – EU Commission.” Chemical Watch

Chemical Watch (July 9, 2019). “CW report highlights Helsinki Chemicals Forum discussions.”