According to a three year investigation of the efficacy of REACH regulation by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), companies are breaking EU law by marketing hundreds of potentially dangerous chemicals that are widely used in consumer and other products.
Exposure to many types of industrial chemicals is a leading cause of falling human fertility, various forms of cancer, reproductive abnormalities, lung diseases, diabetes and learning disabilities, among other adverse health impacts. According to the European chemicals regulation REACH, substances with import or production quantities of 1 ton per year and more have to be registered at the European Chemicals Agency ECHA. Since 2010, the principle of ‘no data, no market’ applies. To register a chemical, a certain set of data on the substance has to be collected, generated and compiled by the producer or importer. The registrants have to demonstrate a safe use of the substance for workers, consumers and the environment throughout the whole life-cycle – from the production to its use and finally to its disposal as waste. The final deadline to register was end of May this year. The REACH compliance project:
The REACH Compliance project is a joint project of the BfR and the German Environment Agency (UBA). Together, they investigated the availability of human health and environmental data in the REACH registrations of chemicals regarding their compliance with the requirements on toxicological and eco-toxicological information as laid down in REACH. No other national authority has conducted such an inspection for years, ongoing since 2014. Their report was presented at a workshop hosted by BfR on both 23 and 24 August 2018, aimed to inform stakeholders about the dossier quality of the majority of registrations for high tonnage substances and to facilitate dialogue between industry and regulators on how it can be improved. According to an NGO expert present, the report was met with an angry reaction by industry.
Within the project, the information given in the registration on 3,800 substances at 100 tons per year and more were assessed with regard to the endpoints of highest significance for human health and environment. By checking the available information on selected toxicological and eco-toxicological endpoints in this high number of dossiers, the project provides a representative outcome on the quality of registration dossiers. According to the study, one third (32%) of the 1,814 high production volume chemicals made or imported into Europe since 2010 break EU laws, while only 31 percent were declared as legally compliant, with the rest needing more investigation.
Despite the low level of compliance, the chemicals will continue to be used with no extra enforcement activities foreseen in the short-term. Guidance to industry will be produced, followed by dialogue and a ‘workshop’ next year. However, the guidance will have no legal force.
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19, 2011: Committee for Socio-economic Analysis agrees on two draft
opinions on restriction proposals for mercury compounds under REACH June 7, 2011: European Commission announces ban on cadmium in plastics December 1, 2010: ECHA reports the final REACH registration numbers - Nearly 25,000 dossiers November 14, 2010: Registrations pick up as REACH deadline looms September 25, 2010: The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) calls for
comments on reports proposing restrictions on mercury and phenylmercury March 10: 2010: ECHA suggests further chemicals for SVHC list November 13, 2008: REACH pre-registration deadline expires soon September 18, 2008: REACH Update: List of 300 chemicals of very high concern June 3, 2008: European Chemicals Agency opens in Helsinki June 1, 2007: REACH enters into force October 10, 2006: Parties unite on EU chemicals safety law (REACH)
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last time modified: October 14, 2018