REACH Still Keeping German Chemical Producers Busy

26.05.2014 -

Seven years after its entry into force, the European Chemicals Regulation REACH continues to tie up large amounts of qualified personnel, time and money at German chemical companies, said the association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI).

The current phase of implementation, due to run until 31 May 2018, is the most difficult, according to Gerd Romanowski, the association's director of science, technical and environmental affairs. As predicted by German producers, authorities "are identifying more and more substances as candidates for the authorisation procedure," he added.

In the current third registration period, substances manufactured or imported in volumes from 1 to 100 t/y will have to be dealt with.

Of the 40,000 registration dossiers submitted in the EU so far, 26% are from Germany, which has more to deal with than any other member state, said Romanowski, explaining why German companies' resources are stretched.

Another factor worrying the VCI is that up to now over 80% of substance registrations have been made by large companies, but in the period up to 2018, the main focus will shift to small and medium-sized enterprises. With usually limited in-house expertise, these face "immense challenges," Romanowski said.

The association contends that SMEs receive too little specific help with the registration process from EU authorities. In particular, they have "no direct contact persons" at the European Chemicals Agency ECHA.

Romanowski also identified the extended safety data sheet requirement and the "numerous and varied exposure scenarios" as "overly complex and work- and time-consuming." There is a danger, he said, that the players along the value chain will not understand which safety measures are required. In this respect, he welcomed the EU Commis­sion's plan to optimise communication with a roadmap.