- ECHA takes on new tasks
- ECHA's second lead registrant workshop prepares industry for the 2013 registration deadline
- ECHA Guidance - Why? Who? How?
- ECHA reaches out to SMEs
- ECHA joins forces with European trade unions to promote employers' obligations under REACH
- The new biocides regulation offers new opportunities for business and industry
- PIC Regulation enters into force
- ENES discusses good practice in deriving and communicating exposure scenarios
- ECHA five years: From a start-up to a well-established authority
- More information on chemical substances to be published on ECHA's website
- Registrants play a role in the substance evaluation process
- ECHA's Management Board adopts the multi-annual work programme 2013-2015
- ECHA prepares Balkan region for EU accession
- New appointments
- ECHA welcomes Croatia
- Bjorn Hansen: "ECHA is centrally important for the EU"
- A Member State perspective: Activities for SMEs in France
- Simplifying Art. 33 (2) requests for consumers - New web tool launched in Germany
Send your feedback to:echanewsletter (at) echa.europa.eu
This summer has been marked by three important dates for ECHA. Firstly, 1 June was special for us in terms of marking what has been achieved so far in our work. It has been five years since REACH came into force, and ECHA started its activities in Helsinki to manage the implementation of the regulation. In these five years, we have achieved a lot, in good cooperation with industry, the Member States and the European Commission, in ensuring good-quality information is available on substances and in addressing chemicals of concern. I want to thank you all for this.
ECHA has the pleasure to welcome companies to Helsinki from 11 to 12 October for its second workshop for lead registrants who are preparing for the 2013 registration deadline. The event takes place in ECHA's new conference room.
ECHA guidance provides readers with a deeper understanding and better knowledge of the obligations under the REACH and CLP Regulations. The work on guidance has recently been particularly intensive to provide the registrants valuable support in preparing for the upcoming deadline of 31 May 2013. As with the first deadline, the publication of relevant guidance will be ‘frozen' six months prior to the deadline to provide registrants stability and certainty in their preparations.
As the 2013 REACH registration deadline approaches and that of 2018 already looms on the horizon; as communicating in the supply chain has duly become a prominent topic at conferences and in discussions on implementing REACH; and as labelling obligations under the CLP Regulation are to be followed, the task of reaching out to small and medium-sized (SME) duty holders is recognised as a crucial activity for many to undertake, including ECHA. Even if the chemicals sector is characterised by a number of well-known large and multinational manufacturers, looking at the entirety of duty holders, SMEs outnumber the rest. After all, they provide the backbone of the EU economy overall.
Before entering into the subject, however, I add a caveat. Not all SMEs need special attention. Some companies that have claimed to be SMEs turned out not to be such at all.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European trade union IndustriAll have launched a joint campaign with ECHA and the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU-OSHA) to call on worker representatives to act as ambassadors for REACH in their companies. The aim is to ensure timely registration for the REACH 2013 deadline. The campaign also raises awareness about the new elements in the safety data sheets that aim to enhance the protection of workers.
The campaign kicked off at the eighth annual trade union conference on chemicals and workers' protection, held from 26 to 27 June in Brussels. To pass the message forward the trade unions have - together with ECHA and EU-OSHA - produced a leaflet, which provides a simple checklist on the actions to be taken by companies importing, producing or using chemicals in order for them to comply with the EU legislation. This leaflet is available in 22 languages.
The Biocidal Products Regulation recently entered into force and the new requirements will apply from September 2013. With just over a year to go, business and industry should already be considering how the changes will affect them.
The revised Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation has now been formally approved and entered into force on 16 August 2012. The EU level regulation on the import and export of hazardous chemicals will apply from 1 March 2014 onwards.
Communicating about safety
The debate of the second meeting of the Exchange Network on Exposure Scenarios (ENES) focused on how to develop exposure scenarios describing realistic conditions of use and the challenges that industry is facing today. The event, which took place in May in Helsinki, brought together more than one hundred representatives from the chemicals industry, downstream user industries, competent authorities and EU scientific bodies.
News from ECHA
The European Chemicals Agency was set up on 1 June 2007 in Helsinki to ensure the effective management of the REACH Regulation. In five years, the Agency has successfully managed the pre-registration phase, the first registration and classification and labelling deadlines, published safety information on registered substances and introduced new REACH processes. Along the way, ECHA has grown from 37 seconded European Commission officials to 500 statutory staff. Yet, the work continues to maintain the credibility and the leadership of REACH in the world.
From November, ECHA will start publishing more information from registration dossiers, including the name of the registrant, the registration number of the substance, and other items normally contained in a safety data sheet (SDS). Registrants can request for the information to be kept confidential by updating their dossiers by 31 October 2012.
Organising informal interaction between the evaluating Member States and the registrants of substances on the Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) list was discussed during the substance evaluation workshop arranged by ECHA from 4 to 5 June 2012.
In its meeting on 20-21 June, the Management Board adopted an updated multi-annual work programme for the Agency, outlining activities for the next three years. It also dealt with various budgetary matters, such as subsidy needs for 2014-2020 and an amendment to the 2012 budget.
ECHA is expecting to receive a second grant from the European Commission to prepare authorities in the Balkan region on how to work with the Agency and how to support industry to comply with the REACH and CLP Regulations. The IPA Programme is an instrument for pre-accession assistance of the European Commission Directorate General for Enlargement that provides funding and support to the EU accession countries, candidate countries and potential candidates. ECHA's first IPA project ran from 2009 to 2011. The Agency has foreseen that it will receive €300 000 for the second project due to run between 2012-2014. During the first months, it will focus on Croatia that will become the 28th EU Member State on 1 July 2013.
Croatia will become the 28th member of the European Union on 1 July 2013. During the remaining months before its accession, ECHA will support the Croatian authorities in getting ready to work with the Agency on the REACH, CLP, PIC and Biocidal Products Regulations. The main part of this support will be funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Enlargement, through the IPA programme.
People and perspectives
Head of Unit for Chemicals, Biocides & Nanomaterials at DG Environment, Mr Bjorn Hansen, was one of the European Commission Officials who were seconded to Helsinki to set up ECHA in 2007. Now, five years later, he looks back on his time at the Agency and reflects on the years to come.
You worked at ECHA during 2007-2008, setting up the Agency. What was the experience like? In your opinion, how has ECHA developed in five years?
The Member States play a crucial role in the success of REACH. They are the ones who can convey the relevant messages in a national language and understand the political, economical and social factors affecting the industry. This is valuable in particular when reaching out to the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs.) We spoke to Ms Sylvie Drugeon from the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy to learn what French authorities have done to reach the 'unreachable' for the 2013 deadline.
Consumers can now check if a product contains substances of very high concern (SVHCs) included in the candidate list by typing a barcode ID of the product online. A request for information is sent automatically via email to the manufacturer or the importer. This new online service was recently published by the German Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) and Friends of the Earth Germany. The tool was mainly developed by an enterprise hosting a database for products of more than 140 000 clients including contact data of a responsible person.
Biocidal Products Committee:
26 February-1 March
Committee for Risk Assessment:
6-8 March and
Committee for Socio-Economic
Management Board meeting:
23-27 March (tentative)
Member State Committee:
20-24 April (tentative)