EU must stop finger pointing over REACH scandal

MEPs have grown impatient over the lack of accountability regarding the non-compliance in REACH registration dossiers, centred around a recent study published last month.

According to one MEP this is the “Dieselgate of the chemicals industry”.
The study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and Environmenty Agency (UBA) looked at 3,800 dossiers. 32% of substances at tonnage levels of 1,000 tpa and above were deemed non-compliant.

NGOs and think tanks have been swift to condemn the EU authorities over the failures. MEPs were also highly critical, citing the low level of dossier rejections and the casual approach that seems to have been adopted.

Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, acknowledged the problem and rejected claims of “ping ponging” and finger pointing. He drew attention to the 16 point action plan the Commission has drawn up to tackle the issue. Furthermore, he raised the possibility of introducing a reward scheme to incentivise firms to update their dossiers. Further updates to the scheme are scheduled for Q1 2019.

But there remains a sense of inertia and disappointment across the parliament and civil society organisations. After ‘dieselgate’ it was hoped the EU bodies would be far more alert to such widespread failings in standards. Significant improvements to the policy and implementation will be needed if confidence is to be restored.

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