After marathon negotiations, members of the parliament and representatives of EU member states shortly before midnight on Nov. 30 reached a deal on an ambitious new set of rules regulating the use of chemicals.
Since the European Commission first laid out proposals in October 2003, the package has been the subject of fierce lobbying by both industry eager to avoid red tape and greens wanting tough regulations.
The reform aims to ensure that the 30,000 chemicals in daily use present no long-term risks to human health or the environment. The plan sets up a system for the registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals (REACH) under which companies have to register all chemicals used and provide information about them and potential hazards.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006