ECHA recommends more transparency in the trade of hazardous chemicals

The European Chemicals Agency is making recommendations for changes to the legal text.


ECHA’s third report on the operation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation shows that the overall workload of implementing the regulation, despite a slight decrease of export notifications, has continued to increase due to the constant addition of new chemicals subject to PIC and the increase in substances subject to explicit consent from non-EU importing countries prior to export. 

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The report finds that some of the new chemicals added to the regulation like substances containing benzene, the first “substance in substance”, and neonicotinoids that harm bees, have triggered many notifications and challenging new types of exports. There is also an increase in requests from the public seeking data on trade of hazardous substances collected under the PIC Regulation. 

As a result of these findings, ECHA recommends that any future revision to the PIC Regulation should:

  • define what parts of the export notifications are public;
  • clarify what information about trade should be published in the annual EU-level reports; and
  • improve predictability and clarity of the regulation through amendments to the legal text and implementation practices.

Sharon McGuinness, ECHA’s Executive Director says: “Interest in exports of hazardous chemicals from the EU has significantly increased over recent years, which has put PIC import and export notifications data under a magnifying glass. The ongoing evaluation of the regulation offers a good opportunity to improve the impact and transparency of PIC. 

“Our triennial report proposes concrete ways on how to achieve this, for example by clarifying the legal text and adapting current practices. Our recommendations aim at a more transparent and effective implementation of the regulation which controls the trade of hazardous chemicals.”

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