European Commission pushes forward on REACH roll-out

The European Commission is soothing concerns about the EU chemical control system REACH

The European Commission is taking action to soothe concerns about the roll-out of the EU chemical control system REACH. Visiting European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki, industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani and environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik announced criteria for the identification of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances (or very persistent and very bioaccumulative) under REACH. These chemicals will receive special restrictions and the commissioners stressed “all available information is to be considered and in a so-called ‘weight of evidence approach’” when deciding which substances will be categorised.

They also called on EU member states to submit more proposed chemicals for another highly restricted list – “substances of very high concern”. Only 29 chemicals are currently listed and Tajani and Potočnik said they were “determined to identify” more. These substances will be subject to a special ‘authorisation’ procedure under REACH, and the Commissioners announced that “long-awaited guidance” on this will “shortly be provided” to ECHA.

Meanwhile, the Commission is mulling proposing changes to the REACH regulation to make it easier to implement. Potočnik said delays over registration were "bad" and "non-sustainable."

Separately the EU Council of Ministers has amended the details that companies must supply on safety sheets when registering a chemical under REACH.