Commission praises chemical industry for meeting Reach deadline

01 December 2010 16:02  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--The European Commission on Wednesday praised the chemical industry for meeting the 30 November registration deadline for the EU's Reach regulation.

Reach – the registration, evaluation and regulation of chemicals - is the EU chemical regulation programme

Industry was to be commended for making considerable efforts in order to prepare chemical risk assessments on time, the Commission said.

By 30 November, 24,675 files had been submitted under Reach.

"We are pleased that industry has worked alongside us to make Reach such a success,” said Antonio Tajani, the Commission's vice president for industry and entrepreneurship.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki, Finland, would now proceed with checking the files to ensure that all requirements had been met, the Commission said.

The 30 November deadline applies to most hazardous substances manufactured or imported in quantities of one tonne/year or more per company, substances very toxic to the aquatic environment manufactured or imported in quantities of 100 tonnes/year or more per company, and substances manufactured or imported above 1,000 tonnes/year.

However, 30 November marked only the beginning of the Reach process, the Commission said.

Under two further registration deadlines - 2013 and 2018 – industry participants were required to register chemicals produced or imported in lower volumes, it said. 

“The Commission will examine the lessons learned from the first registration phase to allow as smooth a process as possible for future registration deadlines,” it said.

German chemical trade group VCI said meeting the deadline did not mean that “the work is over for companies”.

ECHA could require companies to carry out more tests, or to update registration dossiers or evaluate further uses of substances, the Frankfurt-based group said.

However, VCI director Gerd Romanowski said that companies and the Commission had managed to overcome many “repeated technical, organisational or factual problems” which had impaired the registration process and endangered compliance with the first registration deadline - boding well for the upcoming deadlines.

“All of these practical problems have been solved satisfactorily in an intensive and highly constructive cooperation between the EU Commission, ECHA and experts from industry,” Romanowski said.

“This cooperation has proven its worth and should continue also in future, in order to avoid possible further problems in the second registration period," he added.

VCI said the 2013 deadline for companies to register all substances they manufacture or import in volumes of at least 100 tonnes/year posed a challenge for many of Germany’s small and mid-sized chemical companies.

Around 90% of VCI’s 1,650 member companies are part of Germany's “Mittelstand” - small and medium-sized firms.

According to VCI, in the 30 November round about a quarter of all registrations came from German-based firms, reflecting the importance of the chemical industry in the country.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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