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EU chemicals strategy for sustainability: One substance – One assessment

In December 2019, the Commission published its European Green Deal, announcing a chemicals strategy for sustainability where they looked at how to simplify and strengthen the legal framework and review how to use the EU’s agencies and scientific bodies better to move towards ‘one substance one assessment’.
Currently, risk assessment and risk management of the same chemical is carried out at different times for different uses by different bodies, under different legislation, often using different data and potentially leading to seemingly different outcomes.
The “one substance, one assessment” initiative was announced in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability in October 2020, and the European Commission presented on December 7, 2023, its “one substance, one assessment” legislative package.
The Commission is adopting three legislative proposals to:
  • streamline chemical assessments in the EU by consolidating scientific and technical work on chemicals in the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Environment Agency (EEA), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA)
  • strengthen the knowledge base on chemicals
  • and ensure early detection and action on emerging chemical risks
Under this ‘one substance, one assessment’ package, a key deliverable of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, significant tasks will be reallocated between four EU agencies, ensuring coherent and transparent safety assessments of chemicals used in products such as medical devices, toys, food, pesticides, and biocides.
Citizens, companies, and authorities will benefit from simplified and transparent access to chemicals information, from more harmonized and predictable processes across legislation and from strengthened certainty of the assessments. The new measures will shorten the gap between the identification of a possible risk and the necessary regulatory action. Ultimately, these measures will lead to better and faster protection of people’s health and the environment.
[Source: European Commision]
Next steps
Next steps will include the examination of these proposals by the European Parliament and the Council and are under the ordinary legislative procedure.
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