Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Reach Comes into Force but Program is in Disarray

By Alex Scott (ChemicalWeek)
The European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals (Reach) program came into force on June 1, but the legislation remains incomplete with large chunks of crucial guidance on how the chemical industry can implement Reach still missing, industry sources say. Iuclid 5, the European Commission’s long-promised online database that will enable direct uploading of Reach data via the internet, has also not yet been launched. “Frankly, it’s impossible to have everything in place because the commission doesn’t have everything in place,” says David Buckland, head of corporate regulatory affairs at Akzo Nobel. “As well as the absence of Iuclid 5, there are very few of the technical guidance documents available that are going to tell us how to apply Reach,” Buckland says. The commission has indicated that some of the less urgent guidance documents will not be available until November. “They are running behind by several months, that is absolutely clear,” he says. “We feel we have [done] everything we can without the full package from the commission.” Akzo says it has been preparing for Reach for five years and that much of its efforts so far have been geared toward identifying the group’s product portfolio for the purposes of Reach. Akzo estimates that its direct costs from Reach, including registration fees for its products, will total about €100 million ($135 million). BASF, meanwhile, has unveiled a new service, dubbed Success, available to chemical importers and manufacturers, that includes support for all aspects of Reach pre-registration, registration, and approval.” We have bundled our expertise in the field of product safety into customized services,” says Ernst Schwanhold, head of BASF’s center for environment, safety and energy.

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