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       Chemicals, Petrochemicals and Gaz 06/04/2009
ECHA inaugurates new conference centre

ECHA inaugurates new conference centre


EU Commissioner Wallström calls for a new high-level UN panel to tackle the risks from chemicals.


he European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) inaugurated its new conference centre on

Friday 3 April. In the event, the European Commission Vice-President Margot

Wallström called for a new high level UN panel to tackle the risks from chemicals.

ECHA’s conference centre is one of the most modern meeting facilities in Helsinki. It will house the numerous meetings which are required to implement the new EU chemicals regulation REACH. The centre has two main conference rooms and can hold up to 200 people. At the occasion, a lively debate with 100 students of chemistry, toxicology and environmental sciences was hosted in the centre.


Geert Dancet, Executive Director of ECHA, said: “the Conference rooms in the new Centre are named after Margot Wallström* and Guido Sacconi**. We had no hesitation in deciding to name the two conference rooms after the two people who were so pivotal in getting REACH onto the statute books”.


Vice-President Wallström called for: “a new UN panel with independent researchers to tackle the risks from chemicals in the same way that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is doing for climate change”


Dr Thomas Jakl, Chairman of ECHA’s Management Board, in response to a question from the students about the role of consumers said: “civil society has a tremendous role to play. Be active, seek out information on chemicals, look at ECHA’s website, ask manufacturers what is in the products that you buy. Man made chemicals are in the blood of every single one of us – they should be a matter of concern for us all.”


Pictures of the inauguration event, the panel discussion with students and the conference centre are available in the ECHA image library at:


* The Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström, as Commissioner for the Environment at the time, was responsible for the 2001 White Paper which is the origin of REACH.

**Guido Sacconi, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for REACH.



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