The new chemicals policy - called REACH, for Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals - will require, within an 11-year time frame, that all chemicals exceeding sales of 10 tons per year be accompanied by public data on hazards. Failure to provide such information could lead to a prohibition of chemicals from the market. The policy would restrict the use of chemicals suspected of being carcinogenic or reproductive toxins, or those known to persist and accumulate in the environment.
A draft REACH proposal was posted on the Internet in May to launch a five-week public-comment period. The U.S. government and industry representatives have voiced opposition to REACH, and the United States is also expected to lodge a formal protest of REACH, news reports said.
A coalition of U.S.-based environmental organizations, meanwhile, have voiced support for the European policy initiative, and said public opinion suggests that a similar program would enjoy strong support in this country.