Mr Billy Kelleher TD Minister for Labour Affairs has announced
the publication of the Government's Chemicals Bill, 2008,
which will put in place a more streamlined and coherent legal
framework for the regulation of chemicals in Ireland pursuant
to EU chemicals legislation.
The measures proposed in the Bill include -
- Designation of a number of national authorities
- including the Health and Safety Authority, the Environmental
Protection Agency, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries
and Food, the Minister for Health and Children and the Revenue
Commissioners - to be responsible for specific areas of
- Co-operation arrangements for national
authorities to carry out joint enforcement activities and
to share information with each other and with authorities
in other EU member states;
- A range of enforcement powers aimed at
encouraging compliance and discouraging non-compliance;
- Provision for penalties for offences -
in most cases up to €5,000 and/or 6 months' imprisonment
for summary offences and €3,000,000 and/or 2 years'
imprisonment for indictable offences - and
- Provision for 'on-the-spot' fines
of up to €2,000 for minor offences;
- Protection of whistleblowers in
the event of breaches of chemicals law being reported in
Minister Kelleher said "The publication of the Bill
marks an important step in the delivery of the commitment
under the Programme for Government to implement the EU regulatory
framework governing the manufacturing and use of chemicals,
in a way in which does not impact on the competitiveness of
The EU chemicals legislation being implemented
by the Chemicals Bill include the following -
The EU REACH Chemicals Regulation
provides for the registration by producers and importers
of all chemicals, including preparations or present
in articles, manufactured or placed on the market, in
quantities of one tonne or more per year.
Failure to register will mean the substance cannot be
manufactured or used or imported into the EU market.
There are duties to provide information and procedures
for the evaluation of chemicals - and, where chemicals
pose particular risks, systems for authorisations and
restrictions. Substitution with safer alternatives is
REACH establishes the European
Chemicals Agency to administer the Regulation
in cooperation with the national competent authorities.
- The EU Regulation on the rules governing
the import and export of dangerous chemicals under the
Rotterdam Convention - the primary aim of which is to
control the supply of such chemicals to third-world countries,
based on the principle of prior informed consent.
- The EU Detergents Regulation which aims
to harmonise rules relating to the biodegradability of
surfactants in detergents, restrictions or bans on surfactants
on grounds of biodegradability, additional labelling of
detergents - including fragrance allergens - and information
that manufacturers must hold at the disposal of the Member
States' competent authorities and medical personnel.
The EU Detergents Regulation is currently given further
effect to through regulations made under the European
Communities Act 1972.
- The EU
'Seveso' Directive - aimed at controlling
major hazards involving dangerous substances and their
likely effects, should incidents occur, on people and
the environment. The Seveso Directives are currently transposed
in Ireland through regulations made under the European
Communities Act 1972.
To download the Chemicals Bill 2008 - Click