15 March 2010 17:18 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Under-performance of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and its failure to resolve a number of key issues was placing the first Reach deadline at risk, the Chemical Business Association (CBA) said on Monday.
The CBA said it was concerned that with the deadline fast approaching on 1 December, major issues had not yet been resolved and could cause costly uncertainty for the industry.
“We are increasingly concerned that ECHA’s under-performance may jeopardise Reach implementation," said Melvyn Whyte, chairman of the CBA’s Reach Task Force.
“ECHA is failing to deliver on behalf of industry and consumers,” he added.
Outstanding issues that the CBA felt needed to be resolved if Reach was to be implemented well and on schedule included the acceptability of alternatives to animal testing, rights to use of publicly available data, and the lack of clarity relating to exposure scenarios.
The CBA was also concerned by the frequency with which both ECHA and the European Commission guidance documents, to assist registrants with Reach, were being changed and said that industry required a stable and authoritative guidance system.
Additionally, the CBA said it was worried that discussions on the definition of an intermediate have been re-opened with only nine months to the first Reach deadline, which could have a major impact on the industry from manufacturing and distribution through to downstream users.
“The chemical industry is devoting major resources to Reach compliance against a background of the worst recession in living memory. It has every right to expect a higher standard of performance and more effective communication from ECHA,” said Whyte.
In a letter to the CBA, the ECHA said it could not accept the association’s conclusions and wrote that it was renowned for its work and intense cooperation with the industry.
“We are doing our utmost to honour this reputation also in this demanding year,” the ECHA said.
“But, I can assure you that we are determined to take additional steps to merit our reputation as a supportive and open partner to all our stakeholders and to the chemical industry,” it added.
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