EU crackdown on chemicals

Stephen Beard Dec 13, 2006
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EU crackdown on chemicals

Stephen Beard Dec 13, 2006
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic are bracing themselves for a new law which the European Parliament is expected to pass today. The measure could require the testing of thousand of chemicals used in anything from cleaning liquid to furniture polish. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: The new European law is known by the acronym REACH and its effects will certainly reach across the Atlantic.

Companies that manufacture goods imported into the EU or that are operating here will have to comply and this could cost them plenty.

In a nutshell, the new law will oblige companies to document and perhaps test many of the chemicals used in their products. These are chemicals that were in use before safety testing was introduced.

Steve Elliot speaks for the British chemical industry:

STEVE ELLIOT: We’re talking about 30,000 substances here. We’re talking about millions of euros for individual companies in terms of compliance with this because of the range of products they produce. So this is a very big deal.

The German company BASF says compliance will cost it hundreds of millions of dollars, but the European Commission claims the measure is essential to protect public health.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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