Features

US trade deal would be chemicals safety ‘disaster’ says MP

By on

The snap election may have brought uncertainty.


The snap election set for June 8 may have brought more uncertainty. Nevertheless, if a UK-US trade deal is later struck taking us out of REACH, it would surely be a “health and safety disaster", a Labour MP has warned.

Writing for the Guardian, Geraint Davies said: “If we leave the EU we step out of the protective umbrella of REACH, the EU directive that requires companies to prove their chemicals are safe to human health and the environment before they can be sold.

“The process works on the “precautionary principle” central to EU regulation: companies have to prove their products are safe. That basic approach simply isn’t recognised in the US.”

He said it would be a ‘disaster’ if we adopt a UK-US trade deal without REACH because of the ‘toothless tiger’ of US equivalent rules. The US Toxic Substances Control Act (TOSCA) allows asbestos to be sold in the US. It also allows chemicals to be sold which have been outlawed by the EU, he said.

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is thought to be one of the most difficult aspects of environmental regulation to preserve in UK law once the country leaves the EU because it relies on the collaboration of experts in each of the EU member states to run it.

An inquiry into REACH’s future after Brexit is underway in Parliament with the Environmental Audit Committee. Davies, who is a member of the committee, told a hearing on 7 March: “To provide business certainty, wouldn’t it be sensible simply to say, “We will adopt REACH”? It is all very well saying we might have a difference of opinion on ethanol in alcohol or with Poland or whatever, but what we are talking about here are thousands and thousands of jobs and billions and billions of pounds of industry.”

FEATURES


istockphoto-1131122849-2048x2048_Milos Dimic.jpg

How to handle flammable liquids and other dangerous substances

By Andrew Lawrence, Empteezy on 07 January 2020

Dangerous substances can and do put people’s safety at risk. Find out how to handle them.



Vitality image 2_iStock-1070271670_fizkes.jpg

The hidden productivity gap

By Professor Dame Carol Black and Shaun Subel on 06 January 2020

To increase productivity is a challenge for government, business and organisations, public and private. The latest figures show a less-than-healthy picture, with the UK economy losing an estimated £81 billion each year through ill health-related absence and presenteeism.



Work and travel pic_iStock_Merlas_MED.jpg

5 surprising reasons why you need a health plan before you travel for work

By Belinda Liversedge on 02 January 2020

International business travel can be exciting and provide fresh inspiration for the job, yet it does not come without risks.