On 14 November, the EU’s General Court released its judgment in Case T- 456/11. The case was brought by the International Cadmium Association against the European Commission, to challenge a 2011 decision to extend the REACH restriction on the use of all cadmium compounds as colouring agents for plastic materials. The restriction was later revoked by the Commission when the Commission itself realised it had gone too far. The applicants nevertheless challenged the ban for the period it was in force. In its defence, the Commission cited reports dealing with cadmium pigments only very indirectly and outdated reports which were not taken into account in the risk assessment. The Court found that there was no evidence to justify the REACH restriction and that the Commission had not conducted a proper risk assessment. It stated:
“In this connection, where experts carry out a scientific evaluation of the risks, the Commission must be given sufficiently reliable and cogent information to allow it to understand the ramifications of the scientific question raised and decide upon a policy in full knowledge of the facts. Consequently, if it is not to adopt arbitrary measures, which cannot in any circumstances be rendered legitimate by the precautionary principle, the Commission must ensure that any measures that it takes, even preventive measures, are based on as thorough a scientific evaluation of the risks as possible, account being taken of the particular circumstances of the case at issue (para 52)”.
The Court judgment in case T-456/11 can be accessed here: http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=144481&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=152956