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REACH deadline looms, industry is warned

Firms that fail to register chemicals by June 2018 face exclusion from the European market

by Alex Scott
May 26, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 22

Credit: ECHA
Photo of Geert Dancet.
Credit: ECHA

Chemical companies should immediately begin gathering health and environment data on chemicals they produce in volumes of 1 to 100 metric tons per year to meet the next phase of Europe’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is warning. The deadline for submitting data dossiers for such chemicals is June 21, 2018.

“Register now to stay on the market,” ECHA Executive Director Geert Dancet said at a briefing for reporters.

Christel Musset, ECHA’s director of registration for REACH, even suggested that if companies haven’t already started the complex task of data gathering, “it’s really too late to do so.” Companies can still meet the 2018 deadline by sharing data with other registrants, she acknowledged.

The number of compounds to be registered will dwarf what came in under REACH’s first two phases. In 2010, ECHA received 20,000 dossiers from companies for 3,400 chemicals produced in volumes above 1,000 metric tons. In 2013, ECHA got 9,000 dossiers for 3,000 chemicals produced in volumes of 100 to 1,000 metric tons.

This time, the agency expects to receive up to 60,000 dossiers for 25,000 chemicals by June 21, 2018, for the 1- to 100-metric-ton range. So far, it has received about 5,700 dossiers for 3,000 substances.

Costs for companies doing their own data gathering and registration could be up to $90,000 per chemical, said Janet Greenwood of the Chemical Regulations Self Help Group, a U.K. industry consortium. “It does sometimes feel that participating in REACH is like writing a blank check,” she said.


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