01 June 2007 12:31 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--After years of conceptualisation, debate and formulation, the Reach regulation has finally come into force.
The new European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) opened its doors as planned to oversee the long and tricky registration process.
Reach - the acronym for the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals - is a regulation that meets the demands of the 21st Century. It replaces as many as 40 separate pieces of legislation covering the sale and use of chemicals.
It will have an impact up and down chemicals supply chains and place a considerable reporting burden on companies active in them. The EU expects the regulation to provide a model for chemicals control globally.
The ways in which reach will work are as yet not totally clear. The European Commission (EC), the EU’s executive arm, has established Reach support services. National authorities in the EU member states will monitor Reach locally.
The nerve centre for the collection of reach data and for Reach testing will be the ECHA established in ?xml:namespace>
Companies are expected to prepare for pre-registration of the chemicals they produce and/or sell in
The Reach restrictions process could begin as early as June 2009 when the first priority list for authorisations is expected to be published.
The registration process for the first phase Reach products is due to end on 1 December 2010.
These are chemicals produced in quantities of more than 1,000 tonnes/year; chemicals that might harm the human reproductive system or are known to be carcinogenic or mutagenic (CMR) produced in quantities of more than 1 tonne a year; and persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT), and very persistent very bioaccumulative (vPvB) chemicals produced in quantities of more than 100 tonnes/year.
Substances produced in the band 100-1,000 tonne a year would need to be registered after six years and notification of the production of substances of ‘very high concern’ received.
Substances produced in quantities from one to 100 tonne a year are expected to be registered within 11 years.
1 June 2007 – Reach legislation comes into force and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) opens in
18 December 2006 – EU ministers give Reach final nod of approval.
13 December 2006 – MEPs vote in favour or Reach compromise package.
13 December 2005 - EU ministers reached political agreement on Reach, voting through a largely industry-friendly package but with tougher rules on product substitution.
17 November 2005 - The European Parliament voted 407-155 in favour of an amended bill on Reach in a first reading. The vote represented a major milestone in the long and complicated path taken through the European Parliament by the controversial legislation.
Late 2003 - The draft chemicals regulation was submitted by the European Commission to the European Parliament following a lengthy drafting and consultation process (including internet consultation). The regulation was proposed against the background of the EU’s drive towards sustainable development and widespread acceptance that the ‘precautionary principle’ could be used to control the production and use of hazardous substances.
Early July 2003 – A novel eight week period of internet consultation ended. Some 6,400 submissions were made by interested individuals, companies, non-governmental organisations, industry associations and national governments.
Early May 2003 – Publication of first draft of legislation to be considered by Parliament, several months behind schedule. (It was originally due in September 2002.)
November 2001 – Council of Ministers and the European Parliament passed EC draft chemicals white paper proposals with additional demands to the EC. The agenda was driven by two EC directorates: environment and enterprise.
February 2001 – EC published draft chemicals white paper proposals, entitled ‘strategy for a future chemicals policy’. The white paper set the agenda for a major review of
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