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New European Chemicals Agency Starts Operations as REACH Enters Into Force

Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 22:00

The new European chemicals legislation—registration, evaluation, authorization, and restrictions of chemicals (REACH)—has started and with it the new European Chemicals Agency has begun operations in Helsinki. The REACH regulation will significantly improve protection of human health and the environment, while encouraging innovation and keeping the EU’s chemical industry competitive.

The agency, which is responsible for managing the implementation of the new requirements, will launch a Web site providing key information such as guidance documents, help desks, and other tools relating to REACH. The agency will have to work hard to become fully operational on June 1, 2008, when companies will begin on-line submission of preregistrations and registration dossiers. The agency’s interim executive director is Geert Dancet, who has been seconded by the commission to head the team that will get the agency started.

“The Chemicals Agency will play a key role in the effective implementation of REACH, helping to deliver improved health, and environmental conditions while at the same time maintaining competitiveness and encouraging innovation,” says Günter Verheugen, commission vice president responsible for enterprise and industry. “The valuable support from Finland in the establishment of the Agency in Helsinki is much appreciated.”

“With the entry into force of REACH, the European Union is providing itself with the most progressive chemicals legislation in the world. Properly setting up the European Chemicals Agency is now the next big step to make sure that REACH will work in practice. Much work remains to be done to protect our health and the environment from the dangers chemicals can pose,” comments environment commissioner Stavros Dimas.

For more information on REACH, visit http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/reach/index_en.htm, and for more on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) visit http://echa.europa.eu.

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