EU to evaluate Reach problems identified by chem industry

31 March 2010 23:09  [Source: ICIS news]

BALTIMORE, Maryland (ICIS news)--The EU is evaluating problems with Reach that were identified by the chemical industry with a goal of 1 June to propose solutions to those problems, the executive director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) said on Wednesday.

If solutions are found, companies should be better able to meet the 30 November deadline to register their chemicals under Reach, according to the ECHA Director Geert Dancet. He spoke at the Global Chemical Regulations Conference in Baltimore.

"We are working very hard in the coming months - there are only two months left - to sort out how to address these problems," Dancet said.

The ECHA will host a large stakeholders conference in May to gain feedback to see how companies are dealing with the requirements for Reach, he said.

The ultimate deadline of 30 November for chemical registration would remain, Dancet said. Earlier, EU ministers said that the deadline should no longer shift.

"I believe there is very little chance left to move the deadline," Dancet said.

Companies that miss the registration deadline could face penalties such as fines or temporary exclusion from the marketplace, Dancet said. However, individual European nations would make those decisions, not the ECHA.

Regarding the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Dancet said the attempts to update the nation's chemical-control regulations could bring them closer to EU standards, making it easier for the two regions to exchange information.

US chemical stakeholders seem to have reached a broad consensus on the elements of TSCA reform, which should allow the changes to move quickly in the US legislature, Dancet said. Delays are often caused by disagreements among stakeholders, a situation that occurred when the EU was trying to adopt Reach.

Regarding the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Dancet said he was concerned about the slow adoption of the system, which labelled and identified chemical risks in the US and Canada.

"It's getting a little bit embarrassing when the UN target was 2008 for adopting GHS. In other words, it's a little overdue here," Dancet said.

The TSCA and GHS standards would make it easier to exchange chemical information, Dancet said. The EU has used a great deal of public information to build its chemicals candidates list, which itself facilitates the international exchange of information.

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By: Mickey McCarter
+1 713 525 2653



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