Nav view search



Internalization of external effects in the European chemicals management system




 Key words:

REACH, internalization of external effects, LCA, Porter Hypothesis.



The coherent legislative package of regulation 1907/2006/EC (REACH) was in­tro­duced as a protection instrument reducing the external effects of chemical sub­stances. The assumption behind the new system is to change the total proportion of chemical-related effects present in the private and public sectors. This article shows that previous tools did not include a market mechanism, which meant that such effects were automatically transferred to the society. The REACH regulation pro­tects the natural environment and human health through transferring costs back to the private sector, i.e. internalising the external effects caused by the industry. Thus, it provides an efficient instrument of redressing the balance. In line with the Porter Hypothesis, as the private sector is subjected to more stringent environmental regulations, it develops new solutions and uses different resources, which offsets the increase in the costs of complying with harsher environmental policies. Unfor­tu­nately, the empirical verification of the hypothesis is still debatable. Even so, the integration of environmental, social and economic objectives lies at the core of the concept of sustainable economic development.

REACH is focused on regulations related to risk assessment and further decisions aimed at risk reduction. Given the degree of negative impact chemicals have on the environment and human life, the European policies of chemical production and marketing may be supported by elements of life cycle assessment (LCA) As a me­thod, the LCA is more comparative than the assessment of chemical threats in REACH. It estimates environmental impact in three areas: quality ecosystems, quality of human life and the use of resources. Therefore, it can potentially lead to more informed decisions about using alternative solutions when risk assessment indicates that risk should be reduced. LCA results may also support socio-economic analyses. Data related to the application of and exposure to chemicals is required for risk analysis methods as well as the LCA. In both cases, it is possible to use a common inventory database [6]. This is why the LCA (or LCIA) can be used for the assess­ment of chemical risk under REACH.

Mgr inż. Jakub WIENSKOWSKI a,b)

a) Poznan University of Economics and Business,

Institute of Quality Science

Department of Non-Food Product Quality and Packaging Development

Aleja Niepodległosci 10, 61-875 Poznań, Poland

b) Center for Advanced Technologies of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

ul. Umultowska 89 C, 61-614 Poznań, Poland

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Additional information