ECHA report outlines lessons learnt from Reach and CLP regulations

30 June 2011 14:24  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a report on Thursday outlining the lessons learnt in the first years of implementation of the EU's Reach and Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulations.

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

The ECHA said that although the Reach and CLP regulations are working well and that the various groups responsible for the work are responding as required, largely due to the collaboration between industry, stakeholders, member states, the European Commission and the ECHA itself, there are key lessons to learn.

The report said the unexpectedly large number of registrations for the first deadline had been a challenge to manage and more accurate estimates are needed to plan for the next registration deadlines and subsequent evaluation work by the ECHA.

The agency also said it had learnt that working closely with industry and stakeholders is vital to ensure success and the ECHA has planned guidance and improvement updates to its IT tools in order to improve relationships before the next registration deadline in May 2013. The ECHA also admitted it needs to work further on the interrelationship between the various aspects of Reach and CLP, such as ambiguous substance identification, in partnership with industry and the Commission in advance of the next deadline.

Looking to the near future, the ECHA urged the industry to register dossiers by the next Reach deadline as soon as possible because of the complex and time-consuming work ahead, and added that it was the chemicals industry, not regulators, that must ensure safe use of chemical substances based on assessing their properties, uses and resulting risks.

In addition, the ECHA said it will allow chemicals firms to maintain full ownership of their registration dossiers, including after their submission, to allow companies to improve their quality while preparing dossiers for the next deadline, in order to overcome any concern over the quality of Reach's chemical safety assessments.

Another important job for the Reach and CLP regulations that needs further work is in providing information on substances and how to use them safely along the supply chain to downstream users, to consumers and to the public, the ECHA said.

Meanwhile in a second report published on Thursday, on the use of non-animal test methods, the ECHA said that chemical data sharing between companies is the key to avoiding unnecessary animal testing, adding that since Reach was implemented, far fewer animal studies were conducted for the purpose of registering phase-in substances.

The chemicals industry registered 4,300 substances in nearly 25,000 dossiers by the first registration deadline, which were then processed by the ECHA. Of these, 87% of registrations were submitted by large companies. Some additional registrations were submitted after the deadline, bringing the overall number of registrations submitted by the end of the first quarter of 2011 to 26,337.

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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