REACH: Where We Are Now and Next Steps

Deloitte says of REACH legislation, "The purpose of the [REACH] legislation is to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, the promotion of alternative test methods, the free circulation of substances on the internal market, and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. REACH holds the industry accountable for assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals and providing appropriate safety information to their users."

“REACH and REACH-like initiatives across the globe are taking product stewardship in manufacturing to a new level,” said Russell McCann, CEO of Actio Corporation, a software company that makes innovative software that reaches out to suppliers, collects product data for REACH and other chemical regulatory compliance, and enables E-Z and manageable reporting.

“These regulations change the way manufacturers measure, track and report on supplied product components, raw materials and manufacturing processes,” said McCann. 

The REACH key

The key to REACH compliance is to collect granular data on all chemical substances in all ingredients in each product, then screen measured quantities against chemical classifications and regulatory threshold limits.  Of course, the right substance management software automates this complex process.  ECHA has set up a software option called the International Uniform Chemical Information Database (IUCLID) for companies interested in submitting their data directly to ECHA without managing it.  Private companies provide options.

"If you want to single out one regulation that will impact the chemical industry, it would have to be REACH and the increasing trend to regulate the environmental impact of our products,” says Barry Phillips, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing Sites Americas, NAFTA, HSEQ and Future Business, Bayer Material Science, LLC.

The recent REACH milestone

Laura Chidester recently reported in Chem.Info magazine that ECHA received registrations for:
  • approximately 400 substances listed as Category 1 or 2 Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Reprotoxic (CMRs1)
  • more than 150 substances listed as R50-532 (very toxic to aquatic organisms)
27 of those substances are listed in the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC).

ECHA Executive Director Geert Dancet said, “This is a momentous day—something that many people inside and outside Europe have been working towards since the REACH regulation was published at the end of 2006.” 

REACH next steps

The Chem.Info article discusses next steps for REACH.  Of particular note are the next REACH deadlines, for 2013 and 2018, which are slated as:
  1. May 31, 2013—Phase-in substances manufactured or imported in quantities of 100 tons or more per year per manufacturer in the community, or per importer at least once after June 1, 2007
  2. May 31, 2018—Phase-in substances manufactured in the community or imported in quantities of 1 ton or more per year per manufacturer, or per importer at least once after June 1, 2007
To read the recap of the deadline and the outlook for REACH, check out: http://chem.info/Articles/2011/02/Safety-REACHing-First-Results/