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Editor-in-chief: Maurizio Roncaccia
Editors: Paul Trouth and Päivi Jokiniemi
Article related to: News from ECHA
2018 – the end of the beginning on chemicals
Think ahead to the summer of 2018 or 19 or 20. Do you know what you will be doing? We are planning ahead and thinking about how we can improve and use the data generated by REACH on chemicals.
Remember, REACH is not over in 2018! The 2018 deadline is simply the end of the beginning. We will then, for the first time, have a better picture of the chemicals used in Europe today.
The regulatory work will continue:
Companies still have to keep their registration dossiers up to date;
ECHA and the Member States will continue to evaluate dossiers and substances; and
The risks from the most dangerous substances will continue to be managed.
The amount of information freely available in ECHA's chemicals database will continue to increase. Only a small portion of the data provided by companies is confidential.
This database is a tangible result of REACH. It provides information that will help consumers to make informed choices, improve the safety of workers and help companies and researchers to replace hazardous chemicals. This will increase the safety of chemicals worldwide as well as consumers' confidence in their safety.
REACH and CLP – the keys to a sustainable world
2002, the United Nations (UN) set a target aiming for the sustainable use of chemicals by 2020 and Europe is working hard to meet that. REACH and CLP are playing an important role. Together with our stakeholders, we have mapped the most important aspects that contribute to that goal.
First, is to ensure data quality. After 2018, most of the chemicals manufactured in or imported into Europe will be registered. The data is used to classify, label and use these substances safely. The key issue is that the information on chemicals is of a lower quality than expected. For industry, this hinders how efficiently they can communicate up and down their supply chains. For authorities, effective decision-making on further risk management is impeded. Therefore, improving data quality is the main challenge for sustainable chemicals.
Second, we need to manage the risks of the most dangerous substances. By 2020, we will have a lot more data on which substances are of concern and where more information is needed. This also depends on the data quality: if registration dossiers are up-to-date with correct information, it will be easier to decide which risk management route a substance should follow – for example authorisation, restriction, and harmonised classification and labelling.
Third, information needs to reach all the actors in the supply chain. This means that companies that use chemicals inform their suppliers about what they do, and in return, manufacturers and importers provide information on how to use them safely. It will also help importers and EU producers of articles to know which substances their products include – so that they can give safe use advice to their customers and promote the replacement of hazardous substances.
Using REACH data for multiple purposes
The information available on chemicals on our website is increasing daily and becoming more and more reliable. It is important that we capitalise on the investment made by companies and European tax payers. That means using the data generated by REACH for many other purposes where chemicals and their safety are important. These could cover, for example, areas where waste and water, industrial emissions, the circular economy, occupational safety and health, and plant protection products are discussed.
The aim of the UN’s World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is that “by 2020, chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimisation of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment.” This was agreed in 2002 to achieve the sound management of chemicals throughout their lifecycle.
Success factors for reaching the WSSD goal
Robust data is available on all chemicals in Europe.
Effective regulatory risk management of the most dangerous chemicals takes place.
Effective communication takes place about the safe use of chemicals up and down the supply chain.
Information on chemicals is made freely available to citizens, businesses and regulators to help them make informed choices and increase their confidence in the safety of chemicals.