BRUSSELS, 23-Dec-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Yesterday, 18th December, marked the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of REACH, the EU chemicals legislation. With the REACH review exercise about to start, it is worth taking stock of this cornerstone piece of legislation. Next year’s review is not just a matter of assessing REACH implementation. It is also about ensuring that REACH is effective and bringing added value, as well as gauging to what extent it is delivering on its objectives.
Major efforts of the chemical industry are paying off
Industry has registered around 6, 000 substances in seven years. That’s 40 times more substances than were evaluated under the previous legislation. ECHA now has classification information on 130, 000 chemicals, and thus far some 10, 000 companies have registered substances. 168 substances of very high concern have been identified, and 31 substances of concern require prior authorisation. There are 20 new restrictions on use of dangerous substances to reduce risks.
Further work is needed
True, the quality is not perfect, but we are engaging ourselves in roadmaps that are creating the missing tools and believe this will contribute to improving dossier quality in future. Cefic has joined forces with ECHA and downstream users to improve communications along the supply chain through tools such as sector maps. This will strengthen the application of REACH, especially as the final registration deadline comes into sight.
Looking at substances of most concern is an improvement compared to the beginning of REACH. Now industry can contribute in a constructive way.
REACH Reform can bring improvements
Overall, Cefic believes REACH is delivering on its main goal of protecting human health and the environment. However the verdict as regards the objective of stimulating at the same time the competitiveness of the European industry is far more nuanced. According to the Commission, REACH remains one of the ten most burdensome pieces of legislation.
Says Cefic REACH Director Erwin Annys: “REACH can be made to work better for companies, especially SMEs. Prioritisation and coordination of enforcement are key elements in the successful implementation of REACH. The reform should ensure that REACH delivers on its other objectives of boosting competitiveness and advancing regulatory science, so as to stimulate innovation for the European chemical industry”.
Contact: Erwin Annys, Cefic REACH Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)