ECHA failing to enforce REACH

9th November 2012


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  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
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  • Manufacturing

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IEMA

The chemicals industry has largely failed to provide the necessary data to make the EU REACH Regulation (1907/2006) work, claims a new report from the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and ClientEarth

The groups also say the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which was established to oversee the Regulation, has allowed the sector to do this.

The REACH – registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals – Regulation entered into force on 1 June 2007 and requires manufacturers and importers of chemicals to register them with the ECHA, and provide the agency with data on the substance.

Co-author of the report Christian Schaible said: “REACH is based on two key legal principles: ‘no data, no market’ and ‘one substance, one registration’. However, our research found that both of these are routinely ignored in the registration of substances.”

The report accuses the ECHA of accepting incomplete dossiers and of failing to use its powers to ask registrants to properly complete and correct them.

“Very poor quality dossiers including irrelevant information or empty fields which are not compliant with REACH requirements have therefore been accepted by ECHA, which decided to grant registration numbers by default,” it states.

The report also notes that, although the ECHA has acknowledged that to avoid information requirements some companies have inappropriately registered substances as intermediates, the agency is doing little to prevent the chemicals industry from doing so and is complacent in its compliance checks.

The ECHA refutes the claims, saying that a registration number is only given when a full dossier has been provided. It also points out that the registration phase is not a check of the quality of the information provided or its adequacy.

The agency also says it is following up each of the more than 2,000 cases where substances appear to be incorrectly registered.

Meanwhile, the agency has announced a draft plan for substance evaluation for 2013–15. It contains 116 substances – 63 of which are new – that it proposes member states review, as there is a suspicion that their use could pose a risk to human health or the environment.

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