The chemicals debate gathers pace

The chemical industry is now on notice that it will need to fill in the large gaps in information on the health and environmental effects of its major products over the next few years. A large-scale testing programme was launched in the USA in October. Consultations are under way on a similar move in the EC - although so far the offerings of the European Commission and the chemical industry appear to rest on shaky legal foundations. The European debate is being mirrored in the UK, where consultations on a new chemicals policy have exposed major divisions on how chemicals should be assessed and regulated.

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