Members of the UK REACH Independent Scientific Expert Pool finally published

A list of members for the UK’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Independent Scientific Expert Pool (RISEP) has finally been published after months of delay.

The group, which consists of experts whose role is to give independent advice on the safety of chemicals to support chemical legislation decision making post-Brexit, began work in December 2021. In March 2022 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is the agency currently acting for UK REACH, told Chemical Watch that the list of names would be published “shortly”.

Under Article 88 of the UK REACH regulation, HSE is obliged to make details about RISEP members public.

The charity CHEM Trust expressed concern that RISEP became operational before the list of names was published. Campaigner Chloe Alexander told Chemical Watch: "We’ve had long standing concerns about the transparency of the new system [...] UK REACH is currently failing to meet some pretty basic requirements to allow for independent oversight and scrutiny.”

At the Chemical Stakeholder Forum held this Month, ENDS raised the point that this has not been published yet and queried as to why. It was noted that there had been delays with gathering the information.

Commenting on the latest update, policy analyst from ngo Green Alliance Zoe Avison said: "Transparency should be at the heart of decisions on chemicals safety because it matters hugely for public and environmental wellbeing.

"The publication of details of the independent experts who will be advising government is therefore welcome, although it is of concern that this information has not been available for the first year of their work.

"Information on chemicals safety must now be provided in a more timely manner, including the publication of meeting minutes, expert opinions and updates to the list of experts."

The list of all 35 members can now be found on the HSE website, including their professional qualifications and their declared interests.

A HSE spokesperson told ENDS: "The REACH Independent Scientific Expert Panel (RISEP) list was not able to be published in March as HSE was seeking confirmation of the necessary information from the experts required to issue a formal public profile.

"This also included any conflicts of interest which is particularly important from the point of transparency in this process.

"This has now been completed and the RISEP list was published on the 12 October 2022.It should be noted that accredited stakeholders from industry and NGOs have been able to attend all formal meetings of RISEP to date. The names of all attendees including the RISEP experts were declared as part of the meetings.

"RISEP experts were also asked to declare any conflicts of interest of relevance at the meetings."