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Editor-in-chief: Maurizio Roncaccia
Editors: Paul Trouth and Päivi Jokiniemi
Article related to: Editorial
REACH 2018 and poison centres – what’s new?
We are six and a half months away from the third and final REACH registration deadline, and we are starting to see an increase in dossier submissions here in ECHA. To date, we have received 12 500 registrations relevant for the 2018 deadline. This is in line with our estimate.
The number of substances registered for the 1 to 100 tonnage band is around 6 000, of which 3 600 are chemicals that have not been registered before. This number of “new” substances is less than we expected at this point. Currently, companies seem to mainly be registering those substances for which a registration already exists. At this pace, it may be that we will not reach the estimated 25 000 registered substances by the deadline. We need to monitor this carefully, although industry associations have not yet raised this as a concern.
Christel Musset. Image: ECHA.
Apart from keeping a close eye on the progress of registrations, our focus is now on helping companies successfully register so that potential disruptions in supply chains are kept to a minimum. Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are still uncertain about their registration intentions. To help SMEs decide and encourage them to register their substances, ECHA has put forward a proposal for the Directors’ Contact Group (DCG) – a platform for exchanging views between ECHA, the European Commission and industry associations – to ease the financial strain for SMEs. Our proposal is based on the regular feedback received from companies and Member States already since the Commission SME workshop in December 2013 and the recent SME market segmentation study. We hope the directors’ group will endorse our proposal in its meeting later this month.
The DCG is also preparing a paper urging companies to step up their efforts to communicate their registration intentions to the whole supply chain. Companies need to let their customers know if certain substances will not be registered so that they have enough time to find alternative suppliers.
Companies are also encouraged to take the lead registrant role, create their joint submissions in REACH-IT and let their names be published on ECHA’s website. This allows downstream users to see for which substances the registrations are moving forward, and to contact the lead registrant if they are concerned about their own suppliers or substances.
Finally, as registration is not a one-off exercise, we urge companies to already think about the future and next steps. They should put the necessary arrangements in place to be able to keep their registration dossiers up to date. Also, there will always be newcomers to the market for already registered substances, so co-registrants should think in advance about the mechanisms that are needed to arrange cost and data sharing with them.
Central notification portal for poison centres?
As you may already know, in March this year, ECHA was given a number of tasks related to the EU harmonisation of information for emergency health response done by poison centres in each Member State. In 2017, ECHA has developed formats and technical support for producers and importers of chemical mixtures (such as detergents, paints and household chemicals) to provide uniform information on the product composition.
This autumn, we outsourced a study to explore the feasibility of building a central notification portal at ECHA instead of having these notifications made separately for each Member State. The study recommends setting up such a portal in two phases. The first release would be in early 2019 – broadly one year before the 2020 deadline for mixtures for consumer use – and the second one by the end of 2019. Now, it is up to the Member States to decide whether the notification portal should be developed. This will be discussed in the next meeting of the competent authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL) from 15 to 16 November. A final decision should be made in ECHA’s Management Board meeting in December.