EU: ECHA to do more to minimize animal experiments for REACH
On December 11, 2014 the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, who is responsible for investigating complaints about the institutions of the European Union, informed the animal protection charity PETA that she agrees with PETA’s complaint lodged in 2012 that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) “does not do enough to ensure that registrants of chemical substances refrain from performing unnecessary animal experiments in order to demonstrate their substances’ safety” and found that ECHA’s “interpretation of its obligations was excessively restrictive.” The Ombudsman has made a friendly solution proposal to ECHA concerning its role and its cooperation with Member States’ authorities and received a positive response to this from ECHA.
Article 13 of the REACH Regulation states that “for human toxicity, information shall be generated whenever possible by means other than vertebrate animal tests, through the use of alternative methods.” The Ombudsman considered that “such compliance checks can be used to verify whether the information submitted by registrants was generated in full compliance with the last resort principle.” To this was added that the compliance check is not necessarily the only or most effective way to investigate potential breaches of Article 13. ECHA in fact suggested that direct contacts with the registrants concerned and direct cooperation with the relevant enforcement authorities of the Member States would be an alternative approach to tackling possible breaches.
As ECHA has no legal basis to reject a registration based on an animal test performed in violation of the Regulation, the Ombudsman proposed to ECHA to “systematically inform Member States of any registrant’s refusal to supply compliant data following ECHA’s finding, in the context of a compliance check, that the last resort principle has been violated” and that ECHA may also inform Member States “of possible instances of non-compliance … in order to facilitate their enforcement tasks.”
The full decision can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/ 1KkWpDU
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