The EU's REACH system has had a positive cost-benefit effect, according to a January 13 report from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). It wrote (bit,ly/2KrzoJs):
"[T]he REACH authorization system has not hampered the functioning of the EU internal market by authorising continued uses of [substances of very high concern (SVHCs)] where and when suitable alternatives to these uses have not been available. The requirement to obtain an authorisation has, in many cases, led to substitution and also lowered the health risks of the continued use of certain SVHCs and reduced the emissions of others."
ECHA (which runs the system) had seven observations:
- Risk reduction strategies urged by ECHA's scientific committees have "substantially reduced" consumer and occupational chemical exposures. It highlighted DEHP and chromium VI as "particularly noteworthy."
- ECHA scientific committees have averaged 2.7 years faster for reviews than timelines sought by applicants. On the other hand, they have urged additional conditions or monitoring in about half of approvals.
- The EU's has lowered its occupational disease burden.
- The first 24 REACH authorizations reviewed showed a 97% drop in use volume.
- Authorized use of certain carcinogenic and reprotoxic substances that do not have viable alternatives benefit the EU economy by €8.7 billion/year while the associated health costs are about 20 time lower (€0.5 billion/year).
- Authorizations for endocrine disruptors (octyl- and nonylphenols, ethoxylated) resulted in a benefit of €6.1 billion/ year. The expected annual emissions were projected to drop from 10 to 0.7 tons in the coming decade.
- The demonstrated ability to reduce emissions is expected to aid with coal tar pitch used in clay targets.