Struggling with Reach

Are Indian chemical companies ready for Reach? Apparently not, says this report in today’s Mint.

The problem appears to be not only lack of awareness about the EU programme for registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (Reach) but also a shortage of labs certified for good laboratory practices (GLP), a standard developed by the OECD.

Under Reach, during a six-month period from 1 June through 30 November, foreign firms exporting to the EU must pre-register any of some 30,000 substances that are shipped to Europe as chemicals or as components in intermediate or end-user products.

The formal process of testing and full registration of all 30,000 substances will begin next year and run through a series of stages and deadlines to June 2018.

The Indian Chemical Council estimates that about 1000 Indian companies exported 700,000 tonnes of chemicals to the EU in fiscal 2007. But India has only about a dozen GLP-approved labs, half of which belong to pharmaceutical majors. The few independent labs face a daunting workload which is likely to leave Indian companies struggling to meet the EU deadline.

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