FocusFinal phase of Reach has a sting in its tail

07 June 2013 15:39  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Now that the Reach deadline of the end of May 2013 for chemicals manufactured or imported at tonnages of between 100 and 1,000 tonnes/year has passed, chemical producers or exporters to Europe can look forward to the next target date of 31 May 2018, which will be for chemicals supplied in quantities of 1-100 tonnes/year.

Although the tonnages may be low, the demands on the industry in complying with this phase are likely to be much greater. Many chemical companies produce or sell a large number of specialty substances at these low tonnages, meaning that the number of registrations required per company may be much greater.

Just two examples from Europe-headquartered companies hint at the magnitude of potential challenges facing the industry. Belgium-headquartered group Solvay and France’s Arkema both put out press releases in the last week trumpeting their success in complying with the 2013 deadline. But they also gave data on their expectations for 2018.

Solvay announced that it had completed registration of 161 substances under the 2013 tonnage band. For the 2018 deadline, however, it expects to register some 400 substances, well over double the earlier number.

Meanwhile Arkema said it had registered 123 substances in the second phase and expects to increase this to around 200 for the 2018 deadline. This dwarfs the number it registered for the first phase of Reach of around 157.

Companies the size of Solvay and Arkema have plenty of resources on hand to help them clear these regulatory hurdles. Solvay said it mobilised a team of around 100 people for the 2013 phase, while Arkema put in place a team of over 30 toxicologists, ecotoxicologists and regulatory managers within its business units.

Smaller or less profitable businesses, however, already battered by Europe’s macroeconomic crisis, may be tempted to cease production of many materials once they realise how high the cost of registration per tonne of product is going to be. There will be real risks to the supply chain if that happens.

The UK’s Chemical Industries Association is also worried, especially for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Jo Lloyd, director of chemicals policy, declared: “There is already concern that the many more SMEs who will need to register in 2018 will struggle to cope.” Referring to the 2013 deadline, she added: “It has not been easy, especially when the same people are dealing with the fallout from the first stage, while at the same time looking ahead to ultimate authorisation.”


By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214



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