European Chemicals Regulation REACH

REACH implementation is far from over

Implementing the European Chemicals Regulation REACH continues to involve large amounts of qualified personnel, time and money in German chemical businesses. With an information event attracting around 800 company delegates, VCI briefed its members about the upcoming challenges in submitting registrations. Until 2018, especially SMEs will be faced with enormous efforts.

Around 800 company delegates informed themselves about the upcoming tasks regarding REACH implementation. © VCI/Fuest
Around 800 company delegates informed themselves about the upcoming tasks regarding REACH implementation. © VCI/Fuest

Seven years after its entry into force, implementing the European Chemicals Regulation REACH continues to involve large amounts of qualified personnel, time and money in German chemical businesses. This was pointed out today by the German chemical industry association VCI at a major information event for member companies at the Frankfurt trade fair; the event attracted around 800 company delegates from all over Germany.

With a share of 26 percent, most of the ca. 40,000 registration dossiers so far submitted in the EU originate from Germany. Gerd Romanowski (the VCI’s director of science, technical and environmental affairs) states: “Since 2007 all stakeholder companies have done enormous build-up work. For example, two registration periods were completed successfully.”

Under REACH the companies need to register all chemical substances that are manufactured in or imported into Europe with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki. This happens in a stepwise approach. Chemicals without registration can be no longer manufactured, imported or placed on the market. Out of a total of three registration periods, the third registration period is currently running to 31 May 2018. This phase is about substances which are manufactured or imported in volumes from 1 to 100 tonnes per year.

At present, REACH implementation is more difficult than ever before. Romanowski emphasises: “Regarding the authorisation procedure it seems, unfortunately, that now is coming true what we have always warned against. The authorities are identifying more and more substances as candidates for the authorisation procedure. Inclusion in the candidate list and, in particular, the potential require¬ment to obtain authorisation bring cost increases and competitive disadvantages for the chemical industry in Europe.” Beside the authorisation procedure, the REACH Regulation provides for a number of other effective risk management options. Therefore, it should be examined beforehand which options are suited best – with an active role for the impacted companies in this examination.

Also worth mentioning is the special situation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in REACH implementation. Up until now, over 80 percent of substance registrations were from large companies. But in the period to 2018 the main focus and immense challenges will shift to SMEs with usually limited resources of in-house experts. Romanowski: “Moreover, SMEs depend on support by service providers and on straightforward and manageable forms of assistance and tools that enable successful substance registrations for them. As matters stand at the moment, very little help tailored to SMEs is available. Also, they have no direct contact persons at ECHA.”

Another specific problem is the communication along the supply chain by way of the extended safety data sheet and the numerous and varied exposure scenarios. Romanowski explains: “This type of communication is overly complex and work- and time-consuming. There is the risk of the necessary safety measures being no more identified and understood by the supply chain actors. Now the Commis­sion wants to optimise communication within a so-called roadmap. We very much welcome this effort.”

The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of over 1,650 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media. The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2013 the German chemical industry realised sales of more than 190 billion euros and employed around 438,000 staff.

Contact: VCI Press Dept., Phone: +49 69 2556-1496, E-Mail: presse@vci.de
Please note: VCI news about the chemical industry is also available via Twitter: http://twitter.com/chemieverband

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Contacts

Dipl.-Pol. Oliver Claas

E-Mail: claas@vci.de