Reach deals with pressure as 1 Dec deadline nears

28 November 2008 12:54  [Source: ICIS news]

By Nigel Davis

Reach registrationLONDON (ICIS news)--The EU’s Reach registration system appears to be holding up on Friday as it copes with a last rush of data submissions under the chemicals control legislation programme.

Users of the system have complained loudly about not being able to complete the submissions they must make to continue to sell chemicals in the EU after the 1 December Reach pre-registration deadline.

The number of pre-registrations had topped 2m on Friday morning, a spokesman for the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) said. The pre-registrations covered some 50,000 substances.

The number of legal entities signing up to Reach (the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals scheme) is rising at close to 10% a day as the 1 December deadline for Reach pre-registration nears, he said.

Companies, traders and legal representatives of non-EU chemicals firms are signing up at the last minute so they can continue to manufacture and sell chemicals in the EU after the Reach deadline.

The number of legal entities pre-registering under Reach climbed by 3,675 on 27 November adding to the morning total of 43,266, according to the ECHA.

There was a queue of close to 2,000 bulk pre-registration files in the system early on Friday and each could contain up to 500 pre-registrations, the spokesman said.

The ECHA’s Reach IT system had been under considerable pressure for weeks as companies have sought to pre-register thousands of substances under the Reach chemicals control legislation, but administrators have since expanded capacity dramatically to cope with the influx.

Moreover, the ECHA had a contingency plan, which had not yet been implemented, that could allow pre-registrations to side-step the system in order to meet the deadline of 24:00 GMT on 1 December.

No pre-registrations under Reach can be accepted after then and produces and sellers of chemicals in the EU of substances made in volumes of more than 1 tonne would be forced to produce a full registration dossier for the substance they wish to make or sell.

Full substance registration under Reach could be costly and time-consuming. Reach registration fees and charges paid to the ECHA could be as high as €30,000 ($38,961) for some substances but much lower for others, according to industry estimates.

Authorities in the 27 EU member states are required to enforce the Reach rules and will meet in December to coordinate policing of the new chemicals control scheme.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214



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