Flaws in REACH evaluation

10th March 2016

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  • Chemicals


Robert McCann

The substance evaluation process under the EU REACH regulation needs to be improved, according to an independent assessment report commissioned by the European Chemicals Agency.

The study examined the effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and workability of substance evaluation (SEv). It revealed notable differences between how REACH-competent authorities in member states (MSCAs) handle the process and also differences in the way registrants (and groups of registrants) act in response to requests for information about their substances. ‘Although there are clear rules for the way that MSCAs act and how registrants respond in SEv, it is clear that different authorities have their own styles,’ it said.

In addition, SEv is regarded as less than transparent by some MSCAs and industry, while the process was perceived to be more lengthy than needed. The research found that, if a consortium of firms acts for a substance, the process tends to be relatively straightforward. Otherwise it can be complicated and possibly contradictory because registrants might disagree on responses and communication might be uncoordinated.

Recommendations in the study include: tackling the short deadlines that registrants and authorities struggle to comply with; improving communication to registrants of the schedule for decisions; accelerating the referral process to prevent a backlog of cases; and improving the links between substance evaluation and compliance checking.

The study was carried out by consultancy Amec Foster Wheeler Environment and the government body Infrastructure UK, with support from BRE and toxicology experts Peter Fisk Associates. The findings will feed into the agency’s report on REACH implementation, due later this year.


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