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EU: Using modern technology to satisfy the REACH regulations

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  • T. Gallett
    All Europeans in Nanotech This message may interest you because Nanotechnology is one of the emerging technologies which can replace older technologies for all
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2008
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      All Europeans in Nanotech

      This message may interest you because Nanotechnology is one of the
      emerging technologies which can replace older technologies for all
      future testing of chemicals. The European Commission must realise
      that the toxicity of chemicals covered by the REACH regulations can
      best be determined with increased reliance on modern technology.

      1st of June 2008 was an important day for the New European Chemical
      Testing Policy called REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation
      & restriction of CHemicals). In Helsinki, Finland, the European
      Chemicals Agency which manages the implementation of this legislation
      started the process of pre-registration of existing substances.
      Before 1981 in Europe chemicals were put on the market without being
      adequately safety tested. REACH aims to classify the toxicity of
      about 30,000 substances used in quantities of over 1 tonne a year but
      still depends significantly on animal testing. When you consider the
      technological advances that have been made in recent years and that
      many animal tests have remained unchanged for over 60 years this may
      not be good enough. As this will ultimately determine which chemicals
      will be allowed to be used in Europe and which will not this will
      make a profound difference to the number of hazardous chemicals in
      our environment.

      The European Commission has estimated that Reach will cost industry
      between 2.8bn and 5.2bn euros over 11 years. This will be an
      inefficient use of resources if reliance is on outdated animal
      testing instead of making the most of new technological advances.
      Many alternatives exist which are quicker, cheaper and more reliable
      than animal tests. However, for these to be trusted and validated
      takes investment and a commitment to make medical progress a
      priority. REACH must make sure that all chemicals are tested with the
      most accurate and trustworthy methods and new techniques must be
      developed if only animal testing is available.

      The criteria necessary to validate alternatives are strict and
      comprehensive. Validated alternatives are legally trusted as suitable
      replacements for animal tests. However, the European Commission's
      list of approved methods does not include non-animal techniques that
      were approved for scientific validity in 2007 by the European Centre
      for the Validation of Alternative Methods ( ECVAM ). This is a delay
      which has been criticised by the MEPs of the European parliament
      because it will encourage companies to avoid using validated human
      based alternatives and continue using animal tests instead. ECVAM
      does important work but if they are to achieve what we all want - a
      comprehensive system of scientific tests to accurately find and
      eliminate all toxic chemicals from the environment - their efforts
      must be supported and acknowledged.

      Concerned citizens can contact their MEPs and ask them to support at
      every opportunity the validation and approval of alternative methods
      for all future testing of chemicals.

      For more information visit

      Thank You

      T. Gallett
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