Premature to call Reach effective chem regulation standard - ICCA

07 June 2012 17:39  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Chemical regulation Reach can not yet be labelled an effective standard as it can be too complex for developing countries to implement, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) said on Thursday.

Speaking at the ICCA pre-Rio+20 media teleconference, Frank Sherman, president of chemicals producer AkzoNobel's North America operations, said a globalisation of chemical management standards is needed but it is “premature to say Reach is the proper standard”.

“I think the jury is still out to say that Reach is an effective standard - we have been critical as an industry of Reach’s lack of prioritisation,” he added.

“We think there are more risk-based approaches rather than Reach, which tends to be more hazard based. I’m not sure that Reach is the standard that should be globalised but I think a science-based and risk-based chemical management standard should be aligned and globalised,” said Sherman.

Also speaking at the teleconference, corporate director of product responsibility at Dow Chemical Company and joint chairman of ICCA Chemical Policy and Health Leadership Group, Greg Bond, said there are many advantages of Reach but added that it can be a difficult process for developing countries to implement.

“Reach is fairly complex and not every developing country has the capability or the capacity to implement something that complex. So what we would like to do is take the best elements of Reach and strip away some of the bureaucracy that is inherent in Reach,” he added.

Bond said the ICCA is working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to take elements of their LIRA guidance, which is a framework for developing countries that currently lack sound chemicals management.

“It’s a framework for developing legislation and regulation,” he added.

“Economic success allows you to do more in the social dimension and in the environmental dimension and certainly the global recession in 2008 posed a significant challenge to a number of these countries to prioritise chemicals management higher,” said Bond.

He added that chemicals management needs to be built into the priorities of individual governments to get their fair share of funding.

Rio+20 is the United Nations conference on sustainable development and will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June.

By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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