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Eva Kjer: The EU to ensure better protection of European citizens and enterprises against chemicals

Today, Denmark and eight other EU Member States will launch a call for action to the European Commission. Bringing harmful chemicals in the EU under control is taking too long.

Published 20. October 2015

Together with some of her European ministerial colleagues, the Danish Minister for the Environment and Food, Eva Kjer Hansen, has initiated a chemicals conference to be held in Brussels today. The countries behind the conference consist of the Reach Up group, which wants a tougher approach to harmful chemicals and fairer competition.

"We want to protect consumers and better protect conditions for European industry on the global market. It is unacceptable that it is possible to sell a Chinese TV containing substances of very high concern in the EU. Substances which European enterprises are either not allowed to use or must have special permission to use. We need to change this, so that manufacturers outside the EU have to live up to the same requirements as their European competitors. This is the only way we can protect European citizens from harmful chemicals," said Eva Kjer Hansen.

An end to unfair competition

The nine Reach Up countries: Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Luxembourg and Norway want improvements in five areas: Registrations by industry under REACH, as well as control of substances of very high concern, endocrine disruptors, nanomaterials and substances of concern in imported products.

"The EU chemicals regulation is not effective enough, and the Union will have problems meeting its goal of safe use of all chemicals by 2020. We know too little about the hazards of many chemicals, and we still lack common regulations for endocrine disruptors.  The European Commission needs to get to work. It must deal with the substances and areas for which we do not have established goals, and this begins with improving registration by industry of their chemical substances," said Eva Kjer Hansen.

The conference will make recommendations for how the EU can proceed with its REACH work. The recommendations from today's conference are to be used as a basis for discussions at the next Council meeting. At the same time, Denmark has encouraged chemicals stakeholders and consumer organisations at national level to contact their networks around Europe, so they can put pressure on the European Commission to launch new initiatives.

The conference is to take place today in Brussels, and Eva Kjer Hansen will hold the opening speech between 10am and 11am.

Further information:

Tasja Parize, Press Officer, tel: +45 6188 9022, email:
Kim Petersen, Danish EPA, tel: +45 7254 4313, email:

Facts about the conference

Denmark and the eight other countries are seeking improvements in the five following areas:

 ·         Quality of registrations by industry under REACH.

·         Phase out of the use of substances of very high concern.

·         Minimal exposure to endocrine disruptors.

 ·         Better control of nanomaterials.

 ·         Better control of substances of concern in imported products.

 More than 200 representatives from Europe and North America will take part in the conference, including chemicals stakeholders, MEPs, the chemicals industry as well as consumer and environmental organisations.

The objectives of the conference are to gain input to implement existing chemicals regulation and to initiate debate on the future chemicals policy in the EU.