The REACH of a European Chemicals Proposal: New Study Uncovers Emperor With no Clothes

Washington, D.C., November 7, 2005—A proposed program in Europe to massively expand chemical regulations would be too costly with no benefit, and also have worldwide effects, according to a new Hayek Institute study released today in Brussels. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s director of risk and environmental policy authored the study.

The program, known as REACH—for the registration, authorization, and evaluation of chemicals—would require companies to register more than 30,000-plus chemicals, the vast majority of which are already on the market. Some chemicals would also have to undergo an evaluation process before they could be sold in any member country of the European Union.

“REACH will cost Europe billions of dollars and not have any benefit whatsoever,” said Angela Logomasini , the study’s author. “It will just reduce innovation and limit access to EU markets. In an effort to get this program implemented, the EU has produced flawed studies that greatly overstate the supposed benefits of REACH. It’s all cost with no gain.”

The European Parliament is expected to vote on REACH this month. In addition to the European proposal, some U.S. states are considering their own versions of REACH, including California. And U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), working with environmental groups, is also trying to build momentum for a U.S. version of the program. He has introduced legislation to get the process moving forward.

“It is astounding that REACH has made it this far,” said Logomasini. “It’s not good for Europe, and its effects could be particularly dire for new EU member nations. This kind of program should not make its way to the U.S. or anywhere else.”

The study, Europe’s Global REACH: Costly for the World; Suicidal for Europe , can be read online at and .