Socio-economic analysis in REACH

Socio-economic analysis is a well established method of weighing up the pros and cons of an action for society as a whole and plays a vital role in the restrictions and authorisation processes under REACH. Restrictions proposals need to contain a description of the risks as well as information on the health and environmental benefits, the associated costs and other socio-economic impacts. Companies that apply for an authorisation to use substances in the Authorisation List may include a socio-economic analysis as part of their application.


Methodology development

ECHA is active in developing and promoting the application of socio-economic analysis in the field of regulating chemicals.


Examples of socio-economic analyses and analyses of alternatives

As a follow-up to the ECHA/European Commission Conference on lessons learnt from applications for authorisation, ECHA has selected examples of socio-economic analyses and analyses of alternatives from received applications that could be read by future applicants.
These examples are illustrative in terms of the clarity of reporting, the coverage of the key issues as well as the extent to which the analyses are evidence-based and referenced.
ECHA's intention is to update the list periodically with the aim of having a good coverage of examples relevant to applications for authorisation.


Valuation of health impacts

ECHA has been studying the economic value of the benefits that arise from avoiding various health endpoints associated with the exposure to chemicals. For that purpose, ECHA commissioned a large willingness-to-pay study conducted in four EU-countries. The results obtained from this study provide succinct information for the evaluation of health and environmental impacts of chemicals.


Costs of risk management

ECHA is working to assess the compliance costs of reducing emissions or use of specific chemicals by using alternative substances or techniques. This is relevant in both authorisation and restriction processes, as compliance costs of risk management options are one of the key issues that the Socio-economic Analysis Committee needs to give an opinion on when examining a restriction proposal or a request for authorisation.


Understanding socio-economic analysis

With the aim of increasing the understanding of the role of socio-economic analysis as part of chemicals risk management, ECHA organises workshops, seminars and other events to build the capacity of Member States and stakeholders to perform socio-economic analysis.


Data sources for socio-economic analysis

ECHA maintains a website with a number of sources of information that may be of use to those preparing a socio-economic analysis under REACH.