Tackling an
environmental disease

 HEA, UNISON, Co-operative bank and Scottish breast cancer campaign logos
Primary prevention is the answer

The REACH story


REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals)

REACH is the title of new EU legislation to reform regulations applying to the chemicals industry across Europe. The main vote on REACH was taken in December 2006, see media release. REACH will be reviewed in six years’ time, presenting new opportunities for the control of carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting chemicals.

The REACH story so far is a contemporary example of government working with industry against the interests and welfare of people, environment and future generations.

In its original form (2001) the REACH proposal was designed to protect both public and environmental health, and to place the onus on producers of chemicals to prove the safety of their products. Ideally, the new laws under REACH would see the phase-out of the most toxic chemicals.

However, since 2001, REACH has been determinedly undermined and weakened by:

According to a report from the International Chemical Secretariat, chemical manufacturers 'foresee rising costs and unemployment, while environmentalists predict large savings plus benefits in human health and the environment … The benefits of a more effective system e.g. reduced costs for disease related health care and liabilities are largely ignored in the industry-sponsored studies (produced in response to REACH). In studies that do estimate social and environmental benefits, it is shown that these savings largely outweigh the predicted costs for implementation of REACH.'

The highest implementation costs so far estimated by the industry amount to less than 0.3% of the chemical industry's annual turnover. The report concludes with the plea that even a 0.5% annual cost to industry 'is surely a small price to pay for better protection of wildlife and human health.'
'Cry Wolf – predicted costs by industry in the face of new regulations' Report published by The International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec) April 2004 pp17-18

URGENT - Want to support REACH and ensure that the proposed EU law on chemicals is strengthened to protect public health and the environment? Explain that you do not want to be exposed to hazardous chemicals every day of your life and that it is time to make our environment healthy and safe for ourselves and our children.

See or for more information.


contact us | about us | a campaign of Breast Cancer UK reg. charity number: 1138866 in England & Wales; reg. company number: 7348408|
Reg. address: Breast Cancer UK Ltd, Solva, Southwick Road, Denmead, Waterlooville, Hants. PO7 6LA UK | last updated: 25/02/2007