US chemical companies worried about Reach

US producers fearful

26 February 2010 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Our regular Reach page features reporting on US chemical producers worried about the costs and confidentiality issues arising from the registration process, plus advice about yet another EU regulation

Al Greenwood/San Francisco

US firms are facing the costs of complying with the EU's chemical regulations, even if they have no offices in Europe.

The EU's Reach program went into force in 2007. One of several deadlines under Reach falls in December, when high production-volume chemicals must be registered. US producers exporting an additive, solvent or other substances for use by an EU manufacturer may find their product within Reach jurisdiction if its end-use destination is the EU.

Dixie Chemical has no offices in the EU, but it is registering some of its products because the EU is such a large market for the company, said Mal Johnson, vice president of marketing for the US specialty chemicals firm. Johnson made his comments during a presentation at the InformexUSA fine chemicals trade show in San Francisco, California, US.

US producers eager to comply with Reach are forming consortia under which they divide testing and other Reach costs, Johnson said. The consortia help producers control costs, which otherwise could be overwhelming, said Jim DeLisi, president of Fanwood Chemical, a regulation, sales and marketing consultant in the US. If no consortium exists for a product, then a company should start one.

US companies participating in Reach should be cautious about disclosing confidential business information during the registration process, DeLisi said. The registration process is based on annual sales. As a result, the mere news of a company registering could alert companies and customers to the approximate size of the producer's sales to the EU, DeLisi said. Also, competitors and other members of a consortium could discover details about a producer's processes, DeLisi said.

Jo Lloyd/REACHReady
With all the activity and pressure on Reach work, it's easy to miss what's happening on the wider chemical regulation front. But from enquiries to the REACHReady helpdesk and attendance at our workshops, it's clear that the new EU Regulation on Classification Labelling and Packaging (CLP) is starting to capture the attention of business.

Put simply, CLP is a completely new approach to classification and labeling. For many, particularly those making preparations, it's a "start all over again" challenge. But in fact, it's more than that because CLP has introduced a series of obligations for all manufacturers and importers of chemicals.

So far, there are three major tasks emerging: first, to organize the practical review of all substance classifications and make the changes to labels from December 1 this year. This task is not just the usual updating of a few products; it means new label design, probably new printing machines, and associated changes to safety data sheets (for which a new Annex II of Reach has just been agreed).

Second, there is the information challenge - training and briefing all who are associated with hazardous chemicals - information on why there are new labels, what they mean and what action is needed. This is a major exercise in every chemical business and the clock is ticking.

Third, there is the new requirement for a substance classification inventory, another notification scheme to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which will require a new database capable of dealing with millions (yes, millions!) of entries.

We have created a freely accessible ICIS Reach forum to connect anyone in the industry concerned with Europe's chemical regulation and help them make sense of it. Once registered, you'll be able to download resources, read discussions, post questions and respond to comments. The forum is already attracting a lot of interest from industry, consultants and commentators. Visit

By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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