Germany’s largest environmental charity BUND has accused several major industry players of breaking important aspects of REACH. Using freedom of information laws, BUND has obtained details of a German government investigation into chemical safety files from 2014, which concluded that 940 substances did not meet safety standards set out in the regulation.
BUND names BASF, Dow Chemical, Henkel and Clariant as among those implicated by the German authority as well as L’Oréal and Superdrug.
“Chemical companies have been disregarding the law for years and getting away with it, selling substances that might cause hormonal cancers, brain disorders and other severe health problems,” said BUND Chemicals Policy Officer Manuel Fernandez. “As consumers, we are kept in the dark, not knowing if everyday products are safe or not. What we do know is that EU and national authorities need to raise their game in a big way.”
EEB Chemicals Policy Manager Tatiana Santos added, “This should worry investors and downstream companies as much as citizens. Thousands are handling substances that could cause them major brand or financial problems. ECHA has sat on this problem for years. We see the agency moving in the right direction, but why all the secrecy? The very foundation of EU chemical safety rules are being ignored. BUND revealed the tip of the iceberg; now it is on ECHA to tell us the rest. We have a right to know if chemicals are safe or not. REACH is the best, most ambitious chemical regulation in the world and one that made us proud to be Europeans when it was first created. But that counts for little if it is not taken seriously.”