03 March 2005 11:23 [Source: ICIS news]
BRUSSELS (CNI)--Lena Ek, member of the European Parliament (MEP) and rapporteur for the Reach chemicals policy on the parliament's committee on Industry, Research and Energy, has proposed revisions to the planned legislation that would make it more responsive to European consumers, CNI learned on Thursday.
Ek said at an event organised by Brussels-based think-tank, Friends of Europe, that she had proposed new clauses for Reach on "duty of care" and a "right of information". They would put greater responsibility on the chemical industry to provide information for consumers and ensure that chemical companies translate information from their safety data sheets into a form that consumers can understand and digest. ?xml:namespace>
When consumers ask for information on the chemicals contained in products, retailers should be in a position to meet their requests, Ek said.
President of the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products, Charles Laroche, said he had proposed a department of risk communication at the new European Chemical Agency (ECA) to come into being when the Reach legislative programme is completed. Laroche is also vice president corporate relations and public affairs of consumer products group Unilever.
The department's role would be to "facilitate knowledge sharing between stakeholders" and create a "European platform for active risk communication", Laroche said. Currently consumers seem to be out of the loop with Reach, he added. There is no effective framework for communication of the implications of Reach to consumers, he suggested.
Ek believes the EP’s industry, environment and enterprise committees will complete their examination of Reach in the Spring of 2005. It should then go to a plenary session of parliament in October for its first full reading.
Once Reach clears initial parliamentary hurdles, the Council of Europe will take responsibility for the legislation, probably in December, Ek said, under the UK presidency of the Council. The legislation would then go on to its second reading.
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