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Is the EU Shooting Itself in the Foot with Its Chemical Regulations Scheme?


Jaime Sales

This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Licence Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

The European Union has developed an ambitious plan to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world. The European Green deal lays out a set of policy actions aimed at achieving such goal. However, while the validity of the final aspiration is unquestionable, a full deployment of all the foreseen activities could have a boomerang effect that may prevent from such objective being achieved. Initiatives such as the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability foresee the ban or limitation of uses of chemicals that are critical not only to ensure the green transition in Europe, but also for highly technological sectors for which Europe intends to obtain market independence from other regions. Together with the full development of the REACH Regulation (authorisation and restriction processes), the self-assigned leadership of the EU in the control of chemicals may result in increased uncertainty for investments (certainly not alleviated by the introduction of the essential use concept) that could move to other continents. While Europe continues to place the regulatory focus on chemical hazard instead of adequate control of risk, an adequate balance between protection of safety and the environment and an adequate functioning of society will be hard to achieve.

Jaime Sales is a Regulatory Advisor at Chemservice Iberia, Castellón, Spain. For correspondence: <>


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