Renewed European Policy for Chemicals

The European Union’s Renewed European Policy for Chemicals (REACH) 2007 amendments (EC, 2006) require a registry system for hazardous chemicals, based on the “principle of substitution” (Garcia-Serna et al., 2007). Although REACH is primarily concerned with chemical toxicity, it also contains hazard prevention components. REACH is being gradually phased in, and technical support on risk reduction is available

Initially the REACH program was supervised by the European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) (Garcia-Serna et al., 2007), but in 2008 ECB was superseded by the European Chemicals Agency, which now runs a central database and registration procedure. The program, is aimed at both producers and downstream users, and will mandate the progressive substitution of the most dangerous chemicals within a much larger system of registration. The crux of how REACH works in the case of dangerous chemicals is as follows:

Substances with properties of very high concern will be made subject to authorization; the Agency will publish a list containing such candidate substances. Applicants will have to demonstrate that risks associated with uses of these substances are adequately controlled or that the socioeconomic benefits of their use outweigh the risks. Applicants must also analyze whether there are safer suitable alternative substances or technologies. If there are, they must prepare substitution plans, if not, they should provide information on research and development activities, if appropriate. The Commission may amend or withdraw any authorization on review if suitable substitutes become available (EC, 2007).

Seveso and Seveso II

In the EU, the Seveso Directive (96/82/EC) revised the framework directive on Major Accident Hazards of Certain Industrial Activities, and for the first time promoted inherently safer processes as the recommended strategy for plant safety reports (Ashford and Zwetsloot, 1999; Zwetsloot and Ashford, 2003). In the late 1990s reforms were made, titled Seveso II (most recently updated in 2005). Seveso II is more directly oriented toward inherently safer processes than is the case for similar regulations in the United States.

Under Seveso II, an operator must present a conceptual model for avoiding hazardous incidents, as well as documentation supporting the effectiveness of the safety plan (SFK, 2001). A more detailed comparison and examination of Seveso II’s mechanics is outside the scope of this appendix but Seveso II should be a priority for future research.

It is also worth mentioning that Seveso II has important land use ramifications. The different models of adoption of its directives in different EU member

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