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Europe's REACH Deadline

Some 4,300 chemicals are now registered in accord with European law

by Paige Marie Morse
December 6, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 49

The first deadline for the European Union regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH) was met successfully, according to participants. Chemical company representatives and employees of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) worked in the final hours of Nov. 30 to input data for substances that meet the 1,000-metric-ton annual volume requirement or are considered of high concern (C&EN, Nov. 29, page 15).

By the Dec. 1 deadline, ECHA had received 24,675 company registration dossiers representing 4,300 substances. Geert Dancet, executive director of ECHA, expressed relief that “no hiccups” were encountered in the final weeks. His staff will review the submissions—including verification that companies correctly reported their size—and publish nonconfidential information on registered substances by March 1, 2011.

Companies report that they are relieved to have completed this first round of registrations, albeit at significant monetary and staff resource expense.

But the relief is only “temporary,” notes Erwin Annys, director of REACH and chemicals policy at the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), a trade group. Industry efforts will now focus on the next deadline of June 2013 for substances produced or imported at 100 metric tons or more per year; the final deadline in 2018 targets substances produced or imported at between 1 and 100 metric tons. Compared with the first round, when 86% of dossiers were filed by large companies, these lower-volume rounds will involve more small companies.

“The next phases will be more difficult,” CEFIC President Giorgio Squinzi warns, “especially for small and medium-sized firms.”


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