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Chemicals

REACH and International activities

 

As work on chemicals involves many stakeholders and takes place in the global market, the Commission is involved in the work of several bodies, of which the most important are described below.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

In 1978, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) established a programme to help its 30 industrialised member countries develop effective policies and tools for protecting human health and the environment. In recent years a number of emerging economies have joined the programme. Together, the participating countries cover almost 90% of global chemicals production.

The programme has developed many tools and instruments for information gathering, testing, and the assessment and management of the safety of chemicals and pesticides. In this way, the main chemicals producing countries in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region can benefit from the collective experience and scientific knowledge available. One of the main achievements has been the establishment of the Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) scheme, which is greatly reducing the costs of testing.

The European Commission provides significant financial support to the OECD Chemicals Programme and actively participates in its work. Further information  

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Chemicals Branch is the centre for all chemicals-related activities of the United Nations Environment Programme and the catalyst for the UN system for global action on the environmentally sound management of chemicals. UNEP Chemicals was responsible for launching the negotiations for the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions and will provide the secretariat for the recently agreed international negotiations on mercury. It works with developing countries to build capacity in the clean production, use and disposal of chemicals and disseminates information on chemical safety. This is as well one of the main objectives of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

Both the Commission and the EU Member States have provided significant support to UNEP Chemicals.  Further information

WTO

The REACH Regulation has been notified to the WTO and its Members under the TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Agreement (reference G/TBT/N/EEC/52).

Further information on this procedure and on the notification of the regulation can be found on Enterprise and Industry DG's TBT database and on the WTO website

Bilateral activities

The Commission has also initiated dialogues with a number of important trade partners to exchange information about REACH and its implementation and the chemicals legislation in the countries concerned, in order to improve mutual knowledge and understanding.

European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA)

The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) is a public-private partnership between the European Commission (5 DGs), European trade associations from seven industry sectors and individual companies.

It was launched in November 2005 with the purpose to promote the development and implementation of new 3Rs methods (replace, reduce, refine) and modern alternative approaches in the field of safety testing.

The Partnership activities cover:

  • Mapping and dissemination of information about in house methods and research programmes
  • Support to development of new alternative approaches and testing strategies
  • Removing barriers to validation and regulatory acceptance of 3Rs
  • Dialogue with regulators on 3Rs & testing requirements

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