ERJ staff report (PR)
London – New EU chemical safety regulations are expected to threaten the future of many small and medium sized companies (SMEs) in the rubber industry, an ERJ reader survey* has found.
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 next phase of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).
Asked about the likely impact of the inclusion of small-volume chemicals within REACH on SMEs, 53% of survey respondents expected that this would be ‘negative’ while 38 percent thought it would be ‘very negative’.
Indeed, only 9% of ERJ readers felt there would be no real impact – there was not one single vote to indicate a positive outcome.
Comments posted ranged from: a suggestion that "All money collected for registration fees and penalties for REACH must be returned into the R&D of new chemical technologies"; to total exasperation with the Brussels law-makers "The EC is nuts as far as I am concerned."
Overall, though, the survey highlighted real concerns that many smaller operators could be put out of business by the expansion of the EU chemical regulations.
A particular concern is that SMEs will be much less able to afford the cost of registration than their much larger multinational competitors with much greater experience and resources to meet the REACH requirements.
“The big rubber companies seem to be well prepared with the volume rubber chemicals already registered,” noted a spokesman for Isogran GmbH of Pluderhausen, Germany – responding to a separate ERJ call for viewpoints on this topic.
However, he warned: “Smaller companies with special chemicals will face problems. The supply of special small volume chemicals will be stopped as the importers or manufacturers won't be able to bear the costs for registration.
A further concern, said the spokesman, is that the consumers will face substantial price increases as the supplier base becomes “drastically reduced” and only the big players remain.
(The Sept/Oct issue of ERJ magazine will include a report on the impact of REACH regulations on the rubber industry.)
*The survey closed on 31 Aug and many thanks to all our readers who responded.