First ECHA Report Says REACH Succeeding
Fears that REACH was too complex and set overly demanding deadlines for industry and regulators were overblown, says the first required report on how the REACH and CLP regulations are working.
The first required report from the European Chemicals Agency on how the REACH and CLP regulations are working finds that fears about it were overblown. Critics felt the new laws for classifying and reporting chemicals were too complex and set overly demanding deadlines for industry and regulators, but the June 30 report says all parties have met the challenges successfully thus far. The report was released in English and 21 other languages.
REACH requires ECHA to report on the operation of the legislation to the European Commission every five years. This was the first report since REACH came into effect with requirements to begin pre-registration by December 2008; registration in November 2010; and notification of classification and labelling in January 2011.
Chemical manufacturers were uncertain how best to comply, how to work with fellow manufacturers, how best to share data, and what agreements to put in place. Downstream chemical users weren't certain how to ensure their substances had been registered for their uses. And ECHA was unsure how best to provide guidance the industry needed and how to plan for an unknown volume of registrations, according to ECHA. "In fact, the Agency has assisted companies by providing advice, guidance, training and IT tools (often in 22 EU languages) and by stabilising these tools by not issuing updates in the six months prior to the first deadline," the report says. "The second challenge was the need for new, collaborative working relationships – between companies; between the Member State Competent Authorities, their Helpdesks and enforcement authorities; and between the Agency, the European Commission, industry and other stakeholders. These relationships have been built and have borne fruit in terms of producing working relationships that are deepening and will last."
The laws are working successfully and the responsible parties are responding as required, it says. "To a large extent the success of the legislation can be attributed to the effective collaboration between the key actors -- industry, other stakeholders, the Member States, the European Commission and the Agency."
ECHA says its next steps will be made to ensure the 2013 registration deadline is met. An awareness raising campaign will be made from now until 2013 to promote best practices in substance information exchange forums (platforms for companies to share data on their substances) and to motivate lead registrants to register early, the report states.