Engineering News

Britain moves up date for deal on EU chemicals bill
Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:57 AM ET

BRUSSELS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Britain, holder of the European Union presidency, has moved forward a special meeting of EU ministers to reach an agreement on a new chemicals law, originally delayed at the request of Germany's new government.

A British spokeswoman said on Monday the council of EU competitiveness ministers would meet on Dec. 13 -- not Dec. 19 -- to agree on the bill for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH), which was designed to make companies prove the safety of substances in everyday products such as cars, computers or paint.

"Member states are keen to get agreement on REACH as soon as possible," the spokeswoman said.

"Thanks to the substantial progress which has been made in council and in the European Parliament, we now think it will be possible to reach a deal before the 19th of December."

Earlier this month lawmakers voted in favour of an amended chemicals bill. EU member states must also agree a version of the law, but Germany, home of Europe's largest chemicals industry, succeeded in delaying a decision originally scheduled for this week.

Under REACH, the properties of roughly 30,000 chemicals produced or imported in the European Union must be registered with a central agency. Those of highest concern, such as carcinogens, would require testing and authorisation to be used.

Source: Reuters

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