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Exiting the European Union (Consumer Protection)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:44 pm on 25th February 2019.

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Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 7:44 pm, 25th February 2019

I will not be giving way, as I have already made clear to the House. I am trying to answer the questions that I have already been provided with. On the other elements of registration, I am conscious that some companies have started to set up relationships with not only ORs, but other companies and to establish offices in the EU. Ireland is a particular favourite.

I want to clarify elements about animal testing—I know that this matters to the House. Within the EU—currently within ECHAHSE and the EA have been at the forefront of pushing for alternatives to animal testing, and that will continue. UK REACH will continue to follow the “last resort” principle when it comes to possible animal testing. That works alongside other REACH drivers to reduce the amount of testing, for example, where industry must get the regulator’s agreement before carrying out a test. We will continue to work closely with the OECD to develop new alternatives so that we can understand chemical hazards without testing them on animals. We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows that the registration dossier is inadequate or that there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical.

Norman Lamb asked particularly about Rolls-Royce and products that have not yet been authorised. The point is that the EU has not authorised those chemicals for use. Therefore, we cannot say that they will be authorised by the time we leave on 29 March and we will not have the position to allow for future EU decisions. HSE will work with companies to help them to get into compliance as soon as possible.

Mary Creagh referred particularly to products that include chromium. I can categorically say that chromium is a clear carcinogen and it really matters that we have to keep strong controls on how it is used. That is why it concerns me that the Opposition are considering voting against this SI. I pointed out earlier that the Welsh Labour Government have endorsed this SI and want it to pass today. Without these regulations we would not have a chemical regulatory regime that was effective in maintaining human health, and the environment would be put at risk, which makes me even more astonished that the Green party would also contemplate that.

We need to make sure that our regulators have the tools to understand the hazards of the chemicals that we use, and without this SI we would not have the information available on how to mitigate those risks. I invite the House to approve the regulations.

Question put.

The House divided:

Ayes 297, Noes 240.