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Editor-in-chief: Maurizio Roncaccia
Editors: Paul Trouth and Päivi Jokiniemi
Article related to: Editorial
Last push to raise awareness about REACH 2018
Happy new year to you! This opportunity to address you at the start of 2017 is bittersweet for me. Bitter, because as you may know, this is the last year that I will be working with you to deliver on the important objectives of the EU chemicals legislation. But it’s sweet too, because this is going to be an important year as we enter the final phase before the REACH 2018 registration deadline and we take the opportunity to celebrate the first 10 years of REACH.
The last 13 years of my working life have been devoted to improving the protection of human health and the environment by better understanding the impact of chemicals. Of course, I am not alone in having done that! Many of you have been doing the same – and some of you for even longer! I hope that, as well as building the intensity of our efforts this year, you can take a step back and take some pride in how far we have come together. We can be proud of what we have achieved and the impact we have had on making Europe a safer place, but we also need to make sure that we are honest about where we can improve, learn from it and build for the future. With that in mind, we are planning two conferences in Helsinki this summer. One is for key political players and the Member States to take stock and look to the future, and the other is for judges and the legal profession, to take stock of the impact of our Board of Appeal – which is a unique body within the EU, and an experience to be learned from.
Looking ahead, obviously the biggest push this year is for the REACH 2018 registration deadline. With the support of our stakeholders and the Member States, we have some excellent material on our website in 23 languages to help inexperienced companies. And you can play a role in making sure they find it. Please reflect for a moment – is there anything more that you can do to alert companies about their obligations? Perhaps by forwarding one of our social media posts to your contacts, or by adding a couple of slides to a presentation you make, or by including a mention in correspondence with your supply chain? There’s a tool kit that you can use on our website to help you. We would be very grateful – but more importantly, the companies themselves will appreciate you alerting them to this important deadline and enabling them to stay in business.
Apart from the challenge of reaching smaller and inexperienced companies, the other big challenge I see is the lack of data on the impact of these smaller volume chemicals on human health and the environment. The data required by REACH on these low volume chemicals is less, but data on their impact still needs to be provided. Thankfully, there are now a variety of ways in which companies can estimate the likely effect of their chemicals without testing on animals. Please help us to direct companies to the material available.
Thank you for helping us to reach the companies that need to know. I wish you a successful year and I look forward to seeing you in 2017.