LONDON (ICIS)--Dossiers received for the final chemicals regulation REACH registration deadline in May currently total around a quarter of the expected final amount, EU regulator the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) said to ICIS on Tuesday.
The agency has received 15,000 registrations for 6,500 substances four months ahead of the final REACH deadline, with expectations still for 60,000 registrations for up to 25,000 substances, according to an ECHA spokesperson.
Of those registrations, 4,200 are for chemicals that have not been registered in either of the earlier REACH deadlines.
31 May is the legal deadline is for registrations of products produced or imported into the EU in volumes of 1-100 tonnes.
The final tranche of registrations is expected to bring a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into the REACH system for the first time.
Although there were worries earlier in the registration period about whether all smaller companies were aware of their obligations under the REACH system, 95% of SME respondents to an ECHA survey on the market were aware of their obligations, the spokesperson said.
The May deadline is the only legally-binding date for the registrations, but a submission by 31 March will receive word on whether the filing is regarded as complete, whereas submissions after that are expected to take up to three months for a verdict.
“We are aware of [SME] difficulties, and we have, therefore, invested a lot in developing practical and easy-to-understand help for companies,” the spokesperson said, adding that a REACH review carried out by the European Commission examining the impact of the programme on SMEs will be published in April this year.
In an interview with ICIS earlier this month, new ECHA chief Bjorn Hansen told ICIS that an extension of the deadline would be unlikely, and warned firms to get their houses in order.
“Many factors play a role in a company’s decisions. I can even understand that a company has a problem in meeting their legislative obligations. I can have sympathy for that and I’ll do my bit within the legislation to assist that company in fulfilling their legislative obligations,” he said.
“However, if ultimately they don’t do it, there comes the other bit – which I am responsible for. It would consist in telling the company (for example) ‘Sorry, despite all your efforts, and despite my understanding for your problems, you are not compliant and within 18 months you must fulfil your legislative obligations’,” he added.