ERJ staff report (PR)
London – The authority for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & restriction of CHemicals (REACH) remains a big concern for companies throughout the rubber industry, particularly those now having to address the challenges of the registration process for the first time.
By 31 May 2018, all substances manufactured or imported into the EU at volumes of 1-100 tonnes per year will have to be registered under the EU regulation.
This will affect many smaller and less experienced rubber product manufacturers and suppliers, who lack the resources to deal with the cost and complexity of the scheme, managed by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA).
The problem has been highlighted by a recent document from the UK Chemicals Stakeholder Forum (CSF) – a UK government-led body that includes chemical industry, NGO, and trade union representatives – which sets out “more understandable and consistent” advice for smaller businesses on REACH.
“Anyone who has grappled with REACH knows that it is complicated,” said Steve Elliott, chief executive of the Chemical Industries Association. “This clear guidance is a positive step to delivering better communication and closer working cooperation throughout the supply chain.”
The Helsinki-based ECHA seems to agree: in its latest newsletter, ‘SME ambassador’ Andreas Herdina says the agency is now drawing up a 2018 REACH Registration Roadmap for the introduction of advice and support measures to help SMEs cope with the complexities of registration.
As a flavour of what to expect, the ECHA’s advice will cover issues such as SIEFs (Substance Information Exchange Fora), communication, cost-sharing, ‘forecasting; substance sameness’, IT tools, and multilingualism.
Meanwhile, Herdina informs us that “to help SMEs in exposure scenario communication, an example for registrants on how to construct an exposure scenario will soon be made available. An annotated template showing downstream users what information they can expect to receive will also soon be published”.
This may not be such a struggle to understand for some, but it is still not clear that the ECHA fully appreciates the challenges facing for smaller manufacturers.
Please email your views on this topic to the editor: Patrick Raleigh