Socio-economic analysis for the authorisation of chemicals under REACH: A case of very high concern?

S.G.M. Gabbert, M. Scheringer, C.A. Ng, H.C. Stolzenberg

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Under the European chemicals’ legislation, REACH, substances that are identified to be of “very high concern” will de facto be removed from the market unless the European Commission grants authorisations permitting specific uses. Companies who apply for an authorisation without demonstrating “adequate control” of the risks have to show by means of a socio-economic analysis (SEA) that positive impacts of use outweigh negative impacts for human health and ecosystems. This paper identifies core challenges where further in-depth guidance is urgently required in order to ensure that a SEA can deliver meaningful results and that it can effectively support decision-making on authorisation. In particular, we emphasise the need (i) to better guide the selection of tools for impact assessment, (ii) to explicitly account for stock pollution effects in impact assessments for persistent and very persistent chemicals, (iii) to define suitable impact indicators for PBT/vPvB chemicals given the lack of reliable information about safe concentration levels, (iv) to guide how impacts can be transformed into values for decision-making, and (v) to provide a well-balanced discussion of discounting of long-term impacts of chemicals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-571
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • controlling greenhouse gases
  • optimal transition path
  • cost-effectiveness
  • future
  • biodiversity
  • environment
  • management
  • landscape
  • dice
  • tax

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