EU and US Regulatory Approaches to Information on Chemicals in Products: Implications for Consumers (by Linda Molander and Alison K. Cohen)
Information dissemination across the supply chain to consumers about chemicals’ hazardous properties and presence in consumer products has been recognized as insuffi cient to improve to enable both producers and end-users to avoid hazardous chemicals and to manage risks to human health and the environment. A comparative analysis of the information requirements in four EU legislations (the CLP, the Cosmetics regulation, REACH, and the Toys Safety Directive) and three US legislations (California’s Proposition 65 and Senate Bill 509, and the national TSCA) was conducted with the aim of studying to what extent existing regulatory information approaches require information to be disseminated to consumers. In general, the European legislations address and promote consumers’ access to information on chemicals in products more comprehensively than the American legislations, but the amount and type of information required to be disseminated to consumers varies widely. These differences include which chemicals are prioritised, if the chemical is used in a mixture or an article, what information dissemination strategies are used, and who is responsible for consumers accessing the information. It is recommended that chemical information policies should, at minimum, require chemical suppliers to inform consumers of hazardous chemicals present in their products and, if possible, recommend risk management measures to ensure a safe use of consumer products.
Alison K. Cohen was a 2009-2010 Fulbright Schuman grantee.