July 10 is the deadline for consultation on the new REACH – registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals – requirements for the European chemicals industry which are expected to have far-reaching and serious consequences for producers and users of chemicals within the European Union. For producers there will be huge testing costs, massive increases in administration, discontinuation of products lines, repression of innovation, job losses and issues of competitiveness.

The whole supply chain will be affected by the REACH system’s Duty of Care. This is a duty on all companies that manufacture, import and use chemicals – regardless of the quantity – to assess the risks arising from those chemicals and take necessary measures to manage any risks identified.

The new legislation is contained in a 1,200 page draft document on the European Commission website: reach.htm; the consultation process on the internet to canvas opinions at consultation.htm ends on July 10, 2003.