Chemical companies failed to provide important safety information in nearly three quarters (74% or 211 of 286) of cases checked by authorities, breaking REACH laws.
This from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) 2018 substance evaluation progress report, released yesterday.
Officials had to demand more data on important safety aspects, including the mutagenicity, prenatal development and reproductive effects of substances for humans and persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity in the environment.
The agency said the safety gaps are in line with previous years and that companies need to improve legal compliance. Industry group CEFIC acknowledged the problem.
The agency noted that member states need to develop risk management measures to control unsafe commercial use of chemicals in 71% (15 of 22) of substances checked.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomed the report for its clarity and recommendations. It agreed with ECHA that member states should speed up evaluation and resolve data gaps to minimise chemical exposure.
EEB chemicals policy manager Tatiana Santos said:
“This report shows there is still a mountain to climb on chemical safety in Europe. The figures indicate that protection of human health and the environment is not guaranteed for almost three quarters of chemicals evaluated in 2018.
“European authorities are in the dark for most substances because the chemical industry has failed to demonstrate the safety of its products. Where officials have the information they need to declare a substance unsafe, in most cases no action follows.
“Acknowledging the problem is the first step to change, so we welcome that ECHA has pinpointed the challenges and urged governments to step up their work. This and other actions are a clear signal to companies that the days of lax regulation are over.”