Press Release

PR | The 4 Belgian Environment Ministers are calling on the European Commission to review the Chemicals Risk Regulation

The 4 Belgian Environment Ministers, Céline Tellier, Zakia Khattabi, Zuhal Demir and Alain Maron, as well as other Member States like Denmark, are calling on the European Commission to revise the REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of CHemicals) Regulation to ensure a transition to a sustainable society, including as regards chemicals.

Under the Green Deal and its European Strategy on Chemical Sustainability, the European Commission announced the revision in 2023 of the REACH regulation, one of the main instruments that establishes standards for chemicals. The regulation was adopted in 2006 to better protect human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals, whilst promoting the competitiveness of the EU chemical industry. It also promotes alternative methods for evaluating the dangers of substances in order to reduce the number of animal trials. 

This EU regulation has not been reviewed in close to 20 years.New chemicals commonly used by industry are now considered harmful to the environment and human health. This is particularly the case for some polymers and for endocrine disrupters such as multiple PFASs for which there are currently no regulations. "Since early 2021, I emphasized the importance of strict regulation and even phasing out PFAS and other hazardous chemicals at the EU level. Revision of REACH is therefore a necessary complement to our industrial policy. I will repeat this message to the European Council on the Environment on 24 October. We must do everything in our power to protect our environment and the health of our citizens," said Zuhal Demir, Flemish Minister for the Environment.

The REACH review aims to adapt the legislation in order to put the European chemical industry on a sustainable path and to achieve the ambition of an environment free of toxic substances, while stimulating innovation and competitiveness in our chemical industries. For Zakia Khattabi, Federal Minister of the Environment: "The revision of REACH is a major instrument for addressing the challenges of tomorrow's chemistry! To ensure that our industry remains a global leader and responds to environmental and health challenges, we must review this regulatory framework without delay.The European Commission had announced the revision of the REACH Regulation as part of the Green Deal for 2023, with the desire for an ambitious environmental framework. The geopolitical situation has led to fears that this revision will be postponed until the next legislature, at the risk of reducing environmental and public health ambitions.

In this respect, the Brussels Minister for the Environment and Health Alain Maron continues: “Protection of the environment and health are essential. The revision of the REACH Regulation is therefore an important matter. The review needs to take into account the latest scientific knowledge and update the chemical utilization framework. Again, this is a public health issue.” 

“The answers to the energy crisis and the current world situation must not distract us from environmental and health issues, especially those related to chemical pollution. Protecting people against pollution must remain our priority,' concluded the Walloon Minister for the Environment, Céline Tellier.