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REACH 2018 isn’t the end of the road!

The next and last deadline for REACH registration is scheduled for May 31st 2018. Nevertheless, this does not mean that chemical concerns will stop. "Chemical safety has moved beyond the environment, health and safety departments of chemical companies”, Dick Sijm, ex-leader of the REACH Bureau at the Dutch National Institute for Health and Environment, says in an interview with Chemical Watch. In light of this article, EcoMundo decodes this business issue, which is already being taken into account by a growing number of CEOs.

What changed with REACH Regulation

Manufacturers are responsible for the chemical safety of their products

Since the REACH Regulation’s implementation in 2007, manufacturers have to register the substances, mixtures they produce. This responsibility has led to convincing results: lots of data in the public domain.

The fact that REACH has become a business issue for companies is one of the greatest achievements of this regulation.

Hazardous substances are progressively being substituted

The candidate list has enabled to restrict the use of SVHCs (Substances of Very High Concern). The final goal is a better communication about them, and in the long-run, pushing these substances out of the European market. Even if all the substances from the candidate list aren’t prohibited by the EC (European Commission) yet, lots of manufacturers and exporters from outside the EU chose not to use them.

And after REACH 2018?

In an interview with Chemical Watch ,,Dick Sijm, ex-leader of the REACH Bureau at the Dutch National Institute for Health and Environment, advises CEOs to continue with their efforts to ensure chemical safety, even after the 31st of May deadline.

The European Commission wants to keep reducing sanitary and environmental impact of the chemical substances after this last REACH registration rush. Three main changes must be anticipated::

  • Scientific data update
  • REACH authorization
  • Chemical exposure

Scientific data is evolving

The REACH and CLP regulations have already greatly contributed to the 2020 goal to minimize the negative health and environmental impacts of chemicals: they generate information on all hazardous substances used in the industry, and try to limit and manage the risks associated with their activity.

However, because of the necessary time to conduct the required tests, 5 to 7 years are needed to gather this information. Science regularly produces interesting results for companies: keeping in with the most recent trends is a major challenge now more than ever.

Authorizing or substituting chemicals: a tough call

Dick Sijm raises the issue of the lack of communication and information on the exposure to chemical substances. Indeed, this data requires complex and costly tests that are hard for the companies to implement.

So some companies prefer opening long and costly procedures such as REACH authorization in order to keep using substances that were classified as SVHC by ECHA, instead of seeking to substitute.

However you must keep in mind that REACH authorization is only granted for a given time and is a very costly process. It is mandatory to implement a substitution strategy in the long-term.

Better estimating chemical exposure

In his interview, Dick Sijm underlines the difficulty for companies to provide detailed and reliable data about the workers exposure to chemical substances. Toxicological studies, and more importantly exposure science, are new disciplines, and outside industrial branches such as metallurgy, the data related to the exposure of workers to chemical products is scarce and sometimes hard to obtain.

Though, initiatives like ENES (Expert network on exposure scenarios) allow companies to benefit from a better inclusion of this issue as well as a better communication explaining the reasons behind worker exposure control.

The harmonization of calculation methods, the improveded quality of scientific data, and the systematic communication of exposure scenarios will be the three main development lines allowing to control chemical substance exposure.

Check our REACH registration services for 2018

EcoMundo is an expert service provider for REACH registration 2018 Our services include:

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