CEFIC Identifies Ways to Improve REACH

29.03.2017 -

The EU's chemicals legislation REACH – in force for ten years and now undergoing its second review – is functioning relatively well, but there is room for improvement, Erwin Annys, director of chemicals policy at the European Chemistry Council (CEFIC), said in a speech to the recent Global Business Summit held in Amsterdam and organized by the British trade publication Chemical Watch. 

CEFIC has identified four areas the European Commission should look at carefully in order to help "reduce the burden" for industry, Annys said. Foremostly, he mentioned helping SMEs with the 2018 registration deadline. While saying the industry is "grateful" for what the REACH administration authority ECHA is doing, he stressed there are the 28 national helpdesks where companies can get additional help in their own language.

Weighing in on the evaluation process, the CEFIC policy chief said European chemical producers believe the Commission and ECHA need to “reflect further on cost sharing,” especially as some companies are not willing to pay for the required tests. Furthermore, the authorization process needs to be improved in particular for the broader group of process chemicals, so that the same results can be obtained more easily.  On the whole, the industry association would like to see the process streamlined and low-volume authorization applications simplified.

As industry must produce proof of adequate control or minimization of exposure to its products, Annys said a consensus should be reached on how detailed this must be. In CEFIC’s view, a “level playing field” needs to be created so that products containing substances banned in the EU are not imported. On this point, it has urged authorities to accelerate enforcement efforts, as EU and non-EU companies face different rules.