- Getting ready for the Biocidal Products Regulation
- World of biocides brought up to date
- Steering the work to make the new biocides regulation a success
- From our stakeholders: "Support for small enterprises is crucial"
- Setting up national biocides helpdesks
- New online tools for biocides applications
- Raising awareness on the new Biocidal Products Regulation
- Working together for better communication on the safe use of chemicals
- What to do when receiving an extended safety data sheet?
- Working towards the REACH dossier evaluation goal
- Setting the scene for applications for authorisation
- Board of Appeal members' term in office prolonged
- Guest column: Reflections on the review of REACH
- Making use of derived no-effect levels generated under REACH
- Call for creative ideas to overcome REACH challenges
- Croatia joins the EU chemicals management framework
- Debating chemicals policy
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Article related to: Communicating about safety
Working together for better communication on the safe use of chemicals
ECHA and its stakeholders have signed up to improving chemical safety reports and extended safety data sheets. More stakeholder organisations are invited to join in this long term collaborative effort.
In July, ECHA published a crossstakeholder roadmap towards improving the quality of information in exposure scenarios, in both the REACH chemical safety reports and safety data sheets. These documents hold essential information on the conditions of safe use of chemicals, and are the main tools used to disseminate the information both in the supply chain and between the authorities.
While an innovative way to compile and communicate information on the safe use of chemicals, exposure scenarios are relatively new, and the mechanisms for generating and communicating them still have room for improvement.
This became obvious to ECHA in spring 2012 when it analysed the experience gained since the first registration deadline in 2010 and received feedback from industry and downstream users.
At the time, ECHA proposed to set up a cross-stakeholder group to develop a roadmap to address the known shortcomings in a coordinated way.
The same observations and need for action were echoed by the European Commission in their review of REACH, published in February 2013. The consequent roadmap with its actions is now responding to these calls.
Calling for more stakeholders to join in
The roadmap is structured around five action areas with 21 individual actions. ECHA is taking the lead on eight actions, industry organisations on 12 and one action will be led by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA). Several Member State authorities and industry organisations have expressed their commitment to contribute to the work.
The Agency is now calling for more stakeholder organisations to join in. They can do that by signing a specific Roadmap Charter available on ECHA's website, and by contacting the action leads with a view to contributing to the areas where they have expertise. This way their commitment to the roadmap actions is also visible to the public.
The action areas are the following:
- Action area 1: Increase understanding among stakeholders - Achieving a common understanding among stakeholders on the purpose of the information in the chemical safety report and the exposure scenario.
- Action area 2: Improve information on how substances are used as an essential input to the chemical safety assessment - Identification of the information that registrants need from downstream users so that they can assess their uses.
- Action area 3: IT tools and standardisation: Development of IT tools to support the efficient generation and communication of consistent information on safe use.
- Action area 4: Support to formulators - Set up a process for formulators to consolidate the information from single substances into information on the conditions of safe use for their products.
- Action area 5: Support to end-users - Analysis of the specific needs of the various industrial and professional end-users of chemicals in order to provide targeted safety advice.
From our stakeholders
"DUCC, the Downstream Users of Chemicals Coordination Group, representing the majority of formulator chemical sectors, welcomes the CSR/ES Roadmap and intends to actively contribute to its actual implementation.
Practical experience from the last three years at formulator level has shown that the quality, the format and the content of exposure scenarios received in extended safety data sheets for substances varies to such an extent that complying with downstream user duties under REACH is a tremendous challenge. This is all the more difficult because supply chains for raw materials are dynamic and complex.
The ‘REACH Review' project of the European Commission similarly concluded that supply chain communication mechanisms and risk management information via safety data sheets has to be improved.
We have five years ahead of us to come up with practical tools and recommendations for improvement. All actors, from industry and from authorities alike, need to work together if we want to achieve the roadmap objectives and, ultimately, safe use of chemicals through their life cycle. We want REACH to support the European chemical industry and effectively deliver safety, not to create unnecessary administrative barriers, this more specific also for the SMEs." Sylvie Lemoine, DUCC
"While requiring registrants and downstream users to draw up chemical safety reports and exposure scenarios for safety data sheets, REACH has left it to the discretion of the actors to decide on the details of structure and format for the documents. ECHA guidance is not fully closing this gap in standardisation. That said, the CSR/ES Roadmap is an important high level commitment aiming at shaping all the ongoing efforts for creating best practice for chemical safety reports and exposure scenarios.
There are a number of roadmap activities for which the contribution of REACH enforcement authorities will be helpful. Eventually, the roadmap will help the enforcement authorities to make informed decisions based on the valid best practice related to exposure scenarios in safety data sheets. The Austrian REACH enforcement authorities will provide their experience to the roadmap actions.
Raising awareness of the roadmap to the national enforcement authorities and informing about the outcomes and their relevance for enforcement is important. Such information needs to be spread both at Member State as well as at ECHA Forum level.
Although REACH has many elements to promote the safe use of chemicals, it is the tools that support the creation and dissemination of safe use information that make the broad impact of REACH. Therefore, getting involved in the CSR/ES Roadmap is a key step for all REACH actors.
For industry organisations, any involvement will signal their endeavour to provide good quality information on safe use as required by REACH. For authorities, being involved is a recognition of the fact that best practice for chemical safety reports and exposure scenarios is still jointly to be achieved." Eugen Anwander, Austrian Enforcement Authority
Text by Laura Walin and Hanna-Kaisa Torkkeli
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Committee for Socio-Economic
1-4 and 8-11 June (tentative);
7-11 and 14-18 September (tentative)
Committee for Risk Assessment:
1-5 and 8-12 June;
7-11 and 14-18 September (tentative)
Member State Committee:
Biocidal Products Committee:
Management Board meeting: