REACH: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of CHemicals
On December 2006, the final draft of the REACH regulation was published in the Official Journal. (Click here to consult REACH).
The purpose is, within the context of sustainable development and harmonization of laws and regulations regarding the marketing of chemicals in the different EU Member States, to replace dangerous chemicals by other less dangerous chemicals, based on the substitution principle.
The European program REACH results from directive 76/769/EEC of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations, of the Commission Regulation (EEC) N° 793/93 of 23 March 1993 on the evaluation and control of the risks of existing substances and the White Paper (COM  88 final) of the European Commission of 27 February 2001, relating to the strategy for future policy in the field of chemical substances.
The ARTAC has launched several actions to promote REACH
- The Paris Appeal, proclaimed on May 7, 2004 during the “Cancer, environment and society” congress, whose measure #7 calls for the reinforcement of REACH.
- Press conference at the European Parliament, November 8, 2005: Doctors say YES to REACH!
- December 13, 2005 : Official letters sent to Heads of States and government, as well as their Ministers in charge of the Industry and Research
- Press conference at the European Parliament in partnership with the Standing Committee of European Doctors, October 18, 2006.
- Memorandum of the Paris Appeal, presented on November 9, 2007 during the international congress “Environment and sustainable health”, whose recommendation #42 calls for the reinforcement of REACH.
According to the report “Hazardous Chemicals can be substituted”, the world’s yearly output in terms of chemical substances has gone from a million ton in 1930 to 500 million tons in 2005.
Since the last World War, several thousands of chemicals have been marketed without sufficient toxicological investigation.
Numerous scientific research works have demonstrated a causal link between certain substances or groups of chemicals and the onset or increase of the incidence of many diseases, such as cancer, obesity, congenital malformations, sterility, diseases of the central nervous system, allergies.
In some cases, epidemiological studies have remained negative, although toxicological or mechanistic studies have shown a causal link. However, in compliance with paragraph 8 of the Paris Appeal and with the scientific consideration #3 in Title I of the Memorandum:
THE FACT THAT THERE ARE NEGATIVE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES DOES NOT THEREFORE CONSTITUTE A PROOF THAT THERE ARE NO RISKS.
Given the existence of widespread, multiform and persistent chemical pollution resulting in many diseases, and the necessity to legislate at the level of all EU Member States, the European Union, in compliance with the measures of the Paris Appeal, must reinforce the REACH regulation rather than weaken it. As it stands, the REACH regulation can only be the first step in a legislative process aimed at reinforcing it gradually over a longer period of time.