15 November 2001 18:01 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The European Parliament on Thursday rejected many of the more controversial proposals from its environment committee to greatly extend the impact of the European Commission's (EC's) white paper plans for wider chemicals control.
Parliament took what many consider to be a ‘progressive’ view on potential new chemicals control but it has not gone as far as many in the industry had feared. It voted down demands from the committee, and the white paper’s rapporteur, MEP Inger Schoerling, that substances produced in volumes less than one tonne be included in new chemicals testing and registration agreements. Parliament also rejected calls for a wide extension of powers to ban chemicals in Europe.
MEPs nevertheless clearly let it be known that they want to see chemicals control go much further. Parliament broadly called for the phasing out of substances as soon as they are shown to be of ‘very high concern’ but not if they are essential to society and there are no safe alternatives. It also wants to see labels showing whether consumer products contain chemicals of high concern.
Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom’s calls for some restraint on the more wide reaching aspects of the Schoerling report were accepted, as were some of the 113 amendments to the environment committee report tabled by conservative MEPs.
Wallstrom had urged Parliament not to expand greatly the substances covered by the proposed REACH (registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals) procedure, saying it should apply primarily to substances that are proved to be carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic to reproduction. REACH should be limited to CMR categories 1 and 2 substances and to persistent organic pollutants. Parliament wants the Commission to investigate whether the new authorisation system needs to be extended to substances such as persistent bioaccumulative and toxic compounds (PBTs) and endocrine disrupters.
Full details of amendments to the Schoerling report on the EU white paper and parliament’s position will be published on Friday (16 November) on the European Parliament website: http://www.europarl.eu.int
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