Restricting microplastics in the European Union: Process and criteria under REACH

  • Esther KentinEmail author
Open Access
Regular Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Focus Point on Microplastic Pollution: Assessment, Effects and Mitigation Strategies


As part of the EU Plastics Strategy, the European Commission has initiated the restriction process regarding intentionally added microplastics under REACH (acronym of the EU chemical regulation). A restriction dossier is compiled by ECHA according the provisions of REACH. Not only environmental and health risk assessments have to be made, but a large part of the dossier concerns socio-economic analyses and evaluations of risk management options, in order to justify a Union-wide restriction. The procedure reflects the multiple objectives of REACH: protection of human health and the environment, but also the functioning of the internal market. Although the precautionary principle is incorporated in REACH, it plays a less than subordinate role. The process of restriction offers interested parties the possibility to present information and evidence. For the restriction dossier on microplastics is of utmost importance that all available evidence is provided. When less data is available, restriction seems to be less likely.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Leiden Law SchoolLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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