The European Commission has now issued its new “Chemical Strategy for Sustainability,” which sets out “a new long-term vision EU chemicals policy.”

The “Action Plan” provides tools, including legislative proposals and targeted amendments to existing laws. The Strategy is one of the key components of the “European Green Deal,” which has a very broad focus, covering agriculture, transport, energy, climate and general societal issues. Under the Strategy, “new chemicals and materials” would need to be “inherently safe and sustainable, from production to end of life” and “new production processes and technologies” would have to “allow the chemical industry’s transition to climate neutrality.” The aim is to step up, “evolve and respond more rapidly and effectively,” potentially impacting several existing legislative regimes including, as examples from our sector, at least:
• Asbestos at Work Directive
• Biocidal Products Regulation
• Chemical Agents Directive
• CLP Regulation
• Cosmetic Products Regulation
• Detergents Regulation
• Environmental Quality Standards Directive
• Food Contact Materials Regulation
• Food Contaminants Regulation
• General Product Safety Directive
• Ground Water Directive
• Industrial Emissions Directive
• Market Surveillance Regulation
• Plant Protection Products Regulation
• Sewage Sludge Directive
• Toy Safety Directive

The changes are intended to occur quite quickly between now and 2024, and will amend the REACH information requirements to enable effective identification of substances with critical hazard properties, including effects on the nervous and the immune systems, and add to the information requirements to identify all carcinogenic substances manufactured or imported in the EU, regardless of volume.

This new policy is expected to make significant changes to EU, and perhaps wider, chemical legislation. Future developments will be followed up here.

Link to the new EU policy:

New EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability