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REACH benefits not obvious yet, EU admits11th of December 2012
The REACH chemical safety regulation has so far showed limited results, with only "anecdotal evidence" that industry was starting to phase out the most dangerous substances, the European Commission said ahead of a review of the legislation.
Bjørn Hansen, head of unit at the European Commission's environment directorate, said: "It is too early to say REACH is achieving its objectives."
However, he said there were "signals and signs here and there" showing that industry was now taking risk management decisions based on the legislation's health and environmental objectives.
"We're seeing at least anecdotal evidence that indeed it's starting to look like it's working," Hansen said cautiously. In itself he said this was already "a pretty positive message" given that REACH had been in operation for only five years.
The Commission official admitted, however, that there were "question marks as to whether this progress has been sufficient" with regards to the global objectives set out at the 2002 Earth Summit in Johannesburg.
Hansen indicated that the EU executive was preparing a report for 2013 that will assess whether the 2020 objectives for sustainable chemicals management have been met at global level.