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REACH: Chemicals in Europe have become safer

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The use of chemicals in Europe has become considerably safer since the REACH regulation entered into force, according to a European Commission report published today.

This report shows that REACH works. Companies are facing their responsibilities and as a result we have better data about the chemicals they produce and place on the market. We are off to a good start, and this would not have been possible without persistent efforts by the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA. However, there is still work to be done to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment. We are committed to maintaining a safe and sustainable chemical industry in Europe. REACH, the most comprehensive chemicals legislation in the world, can help us achieve this goal and ease the free circulation of chemicals in the internal market. With REACH, our chemical industry can become a world leader in innovation.

More readily available information about chemical substances on the market and better targeted risk management measures mean that risks from substances registered under REACH have significantly decreased. The trend is expected to continue, as industry is continuously working towards finding substitutes for the most hazardous chemicals. Five years after REACH's entry into force, implementation is in full swing. Companies have now registered 30,601 files with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) describing the uses and properties of 7,884 chemical substances manufactured or placed on the market. According to a Eurobarometer survey published today, 61% of Europeans think that chemicals are now safer than 10 years ago.

The report acknowledges the costs related to the administration of REACH and their impact on SMEs, but industry also recognizes the positive economic effects for their business. By further harmonising the internal market, REACH has been a key driver for growth and competitiveness for the chemical industry. To further promote the competitiveness of the European chemical industry, the Commission will soon propose to reduce registration fees for SMEs.

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