Reach boosts innovation in EU chemicals industry – commissioner

19 May 2011 17:38  [Source: ICIS news]

HELSINKI (ICIS)--The EU’s Reach regulation is a stimulus for innovation in the European chemicals industry, European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potocnik said on Thursday.

“[Reach] boosts innovation because it gives us the legal means to search for alternatives… innovative substances, or alternative methods,” he said.

“We want to replace and stop using dangerous chemicals and we want a major shift away from the use of dangerous chemicals over the next decade,” Potocnik added.

He was speaking at the Helsinki Chemicals Forum 2011 in Finland.

Potocnik said European inventions had driven and continue to drive the chemical sectors. He added that once again Europe needs the “spirit of invention”, to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

“We will need to use regulations and legislation to push innovation. We have already 'tweaked' Reach to give extra breath for innovators and for the development of new products. It has also created a vast chemical knowledge base,” he said.

“This knowledge should be exploited so that the data-sharing system will save time and resources,” he added.

Europe’s chemical knowledge must be used to create safer, greener chemicals in the future, said Potocnik.

“We need to grab the opportunity for green innovation and green chemistry… and now that we are working at full speed getting 136 substances of very high concern on the Reach candidate list by 2012, and even more by 2020, the dream of green chemistry is becoming a reality,” he said.

Potocnik added that the recently published second edition of the SIN (Substitute It Now!) List, consisting of 378 chemicals identified as substances of very high concern (SVHC) based on the criteria established by Reach, should indicate the substances the European Commission will take into consideration for placement on the SVHC candidate list. The SIN List is described as a project driven by non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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