EU laws have to be imp...
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EU laws have to be improved to reach a non-toxic environment

1 March 2012

Comprehensive report points at gaps in the EU legislation

The EU legislation relating to chemicals is very comprehensive and has to a large extent been updated during the past decade. In spite of this, there are gaps and opportunities for improvement. This conclusion is made in a report presented today by the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI) to the Swedish Government.

The report on the Government assignment contains the views of KemI and eight other central governmental authorities. The aim has been to cover all important EU legislation that is relevant to the Swedish environmental objective A Non-Toxic Environment.

– The report is a pioneering work. No such extensive examination of the EU legislation relating to chemicals control and the environmental objective A Non-Toxic Environment has been made previously. The report will become very valuable to the Chemical Agencyʼs work on a toxic-free everyday environment, and I also consider it as an important contribution to Swedenʼs future work on international chemicals control, says Nina Cromnier, Director-General of the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

A great number of suggestions for improvements are made in the report, for example:
• Integrating rules on chemicals, articles and waste in a lifecycle perspective in a new EU strategy,
• Developing EU legislation on pharmaceuticals to include environmental aspects, such as resistance to antibiotics and disturbance of the hormonal system more efficiently when testing and producing pharmaceuticals,
• Improving environmental inspections and environmental monitoring within the EU,
• Elaborating a plan of action to handle risks connected with organic fluorinated substances,
• Improving the protection of children by assuring that articles children come in contact with are safe,
• Introducing new EU rules on chemicals in textiles,
• Strengthening the information requirements for low volume chemicals in the REACH regulation and developing it to improve risk management with regard to groups of substances.

Proposals are made in the report for improved information about chemicals to users, consumers and those handling waste by establishing a new information strategy. The report also considers how the rules on food and cosmetics should be developed and improved.

– Notwithstanding all new EU legislation that has been decided in the last few years, several important issues about chemicals are still being discussed within the EU, says Senior Legal Adviser Per Bergman. For example issues such as risks with nanomaterials and hormone disrupting substances and how to manage effects caused by the cocktail of chemicals that we are confronted with in our environment. These are vital questions, but we have identified a few more. Several of these should be discussed when the EU now commences work on a new action plan for the environment.

 

Related information
Related document

Report 1/12 Improved EU rules for A Non-Toxic Environment (In Swedish with an English summary). 
English summary only.

From the glossary
  • Non-toxic Environment -

    Toxin-free environment. One of 16 environmental quality objectives.

  • REACH -

    Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals.