這項法規名為REACH（Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals；化學品註冊、評估、授權法案），未來將取代歐盟現行管理化學物的40條法律。這項法案將自2007年6月起強制執行，登記程序預計要花11年才能完成——取決於化學物的危害風險和製造量，但所有列管物質都需在2018年之前完成登記。
The European Parliament Wednesday approved a new regulation for 30,000 chemicals which will oblige producers to register all chemical substances produced or imported above a total quantity of one metric ton per year. Many are chemicals used in everyday products such as cosmetics, toys and building materials.
Producers will have to submit a substitution plan to replace these toxic chemicals with safer ones. When no alternative exists, producers must present a research plan aimed at finding one. The substitution measure covers about 3,000 of the most hazardous chemical substances.
The regulation, known as REACH for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, replaces 40 legislative texts that now govern chemicals in the European Union.
The regulation will enter into force in June 2007, and the registration process will take 11 years to be completed. The calendar for registration depends on the risk of the substance and the quantity produced, but all covered substances will have to be registered by 2018.
European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said, "REACH is an extremely important piece of legislation, which will significantly improve the protection of human health and the environment. It will increase our knowledge about chemicals, enhance safety, and spur innovation while encouraging substitution of highly dangerous substances by safer ones."
But environmental and consumer groups say the REACH regulation does not go far enough. "Major loopholes in REACH will still allow many chemicals that can cause serious health problems, including cancer, birth defects and reproductive illnesses, to continue being used in manufacturing and consumer goods," according to a joint statement by Friends of the Earth Europe, Women in Europe for a Common Future, Greenpeace Europe, Eurocoop, the Health & Environment Alliance, and the European Environmental Bureau, which represents 143 member organizations in 31 countries.
The European chemical industry has lobbied long and hard to shape the regulation in their favor during the three years of negotiations that led to its adoption by Parliament Wednesday. The environmental groups note that industry won concessions that weaken the rule.
"Further concessions exempt companies which import and manufacture chemicals in volumes below 10 tons a year - 60 percent of chemicals covered by REACH - from the requirement to provide any meaningful safety data," the groups said.