June 17, 2020 by Rhiannon Smith


Last week, the EU parliament’s environment committee held a meeting to discuss the draft motion for a resolution, which lists the aims and considerations which the parliament want included in the EU’s chemical strategy, due to be released this autumn. The strategy sets out ways to deliver the green deal presented by the European Commission last year.

At the end of last year, the European Commission set out its roadmap for achieving its green deal. This highlighted the need for the chemicals industry to modernise and decarbonise, and the Commission encouraged the collaboration of industry and all other parties to ensure better protection of human health and the environment whilst also increasing the competitiveness of the EU in a global market. To achieve this, the Commission set out a series of next steps, including the presentation by the Commission of a sustainability strategy for chemicals and a move towards a ‘one substance – one assessment’ policy across EU agencies and scientific bodies. The Commission will also review increasing transparency on the prioritisation of chemicals for action and a review of endocrine disruptors, persistent chemicals, and the impact of combined effects from different chemicals.

As a result of this, a draft motion for a resolution on chemicals strategy for sustainability was published in February, which discussed:

  • Aims for a strategy which achieves coherence between chemical (e.g. REACH, CLP) and other related product (e.g. food contact, ecolabel), environmental and industrial installation legislation in the EU.
  • Closing regulatory gaps, addressing nanoforms of substances, tackling impacts from combinations of chemicals and increasing the speed of substitution of hazardous chemicals, including substances of very high concern, endocrine disruptors, very persistent chemicals, neurotoxicants and immunotoxicants.
  • Promoting the grouping of substances and assessment of chemical families, particularly for evaluation and subsequent regulatory action.
  • Improving the implementation of REACH, including mandatory updates to dossiers and increased transparency on regulatory obligation compliance with the potential for withdrawal of registration numbers where there is continued non-compliance, as well as improving the speed and quality of substance evaluations.
  • Requesting that substances are not authorised and products not approved without full human health and environmental datasets.
  • Developing an early warning system for new and emerging risks to improve regulatory control of harmful chemicals.
  • Proposals to address inconsistencies in legislation covering PBT (persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic) and vPvB (very persistent and very bioaccumulative) substances, and PMC (persistent and mobile chemicals).
  • Calls for a comprehensive definition of EDCs (endocrine disruptor chemicals), for EDCs to be non-threshold substances, inclusion of EDCs in CLP regulation, and for similar handling of EDCs to CMRs (carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxicants), as well as actions from the implementation of these, including revision of data requirements, minimisation of exposure to humans and the environment, and updates to related legislation.
  • Further development of SIPs (substance identity profiles) and specific assessment methods to allow improved assessment of UVCBs (substances of unknown, variable or complex composition or of biological origin) and registration of polymers.
  • The requirement for disclosure of hazardous chemicals in articles throughout the supply chain, including waste life-stages.
  • Requests for further support for SMEs to comply with chemical legislation.
  • Requests that Member States devote sufficient capacities to improve the enforcement of EU chemicals legislation as well as requesting the Commission ensure all imported products meet the same standards as those required by internally produced substances and chemicals, including enhanced boarder checks on compliance.

Last week, the EU parliament’s environment committee held a meeting to discuss the draft motion for a resolution, which is due to be voted on at the end of June. The resolution lists the aims and considerations which the parliament want included in the EU’s chemical strategy, due to be released this autumn. We will wait and see what the outcomes of the green deal, chemicals strategy and other discussions will translate into in terms of actions and next steps for both regulators and industry.