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Europe

US Aims to Influence EU Chemical Policy

The European Commission's new chemical policy has been called an "expensive new regulatory system for chemicals," by outgoing US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

When the European Parliament’s industry committee meets on Tuesday to discuss REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals), the EU’s sweeping reform of chemical regulatory policy, American lobbyists as well as their European colleagues will also monitor events closely. In a cable dated March 15, 2004, outgoing US Secretary of State Colin Powell requested EU State Department posts to act against the new EU chemical regulation scheme. The European Commission proposal would create "an expensive new regulatory system for chemicals," Powell warned. The proposal was presented after an eight-week long public internet hearing ending in July 2003 which resulted in a total of 6,400 comments from the industry, NGOs, and governments. Enterprises that manufacture or import more than one ton of a chemical substance per year would be required to register it in a central database under the new scheme. The new regulation would reverse the burden of proof from public authorities to industry for ensuring the safety of chemicals on the market, something environmental organizations have protested against. It would also replace over 40 existing directives and regulations. ( EUobserver.com)

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