Toxic®: keeping you safe at work

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Costs and benefits of REACH restrictions proposed between 2016-2020

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22 February 2021

Restrictions under REACH, protect human health and the environment from unacceptable risks posed by chemicals. They can limit the manufacturing and use of chemicals or impose a ban on their placement on the EU market. They can also be used to control imports of the chemicals from other parts of the world.

The analyses within this report indicates that restricting the use of hazardous chemicals under REACH generates at least four times more benefits to society than what they cost. The monetised health benefits to citizens, including reduced risk of cancers, sexual development disorders, sensitisation and occupational asthma are estimated to be around €2.1 billion per year while the associated costs add up to €0.5 billion. The aggregated costs of all restrictions proposed between 2010 and 2020 amount to €1.7 billion per year. Most of these costs relate to the investment and recurring costs needed to substitute the restricted chemicals and replace them with safer substances or alternative technologies.

In addition, restrictions are shown to reduce exposure to and mitigate the risks of harmful chemicals for at least 7 million EU consumers and workers. They also prevent the release of more than 95 000 tonnes of emissions of substances that are an environmental concern. This brings further benefits to human health in the form of a cleaner environment and further reduced exposure through the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe.

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Nederlandse toelichting: Het beperken van de productie en het gebruik van chemische stoffen die een risico vormen in de EU, resulteert de komende decennia in gezondheidsvoordelen ter waarde van ongeveer 2,1 miljard euro per jaar. Dit schat ECHA in de publicatie over de kosten en baten van REACH-beperkingen. De gezondheidsvoordelen zijn een verminderd risico op kanker, seksuele ontwikkelingsstoornissen, beroepsastma en allergische huid- of luchtwegaandoeningen. De maatschappelijke kosten lopen op tot € 0,5 miljard per jaar. De geschatte kosten van de beperkingen met betrekking tot milieurisico’s bedragen € 1,2 miljard per jaar. Totaal € 1,7 miljard per jaar. De meeste van deze kosten ontstaan omdat bedrijven hun beperkte chemicaliën moeten vervangen door veiligere of alternatieve technologieën.