European Commission Publishes Second REACH Review

MARCH 12, 2018

The European Commission (EC) published its second “General Report on the Operation of REACH and Review of Certain Elements” last week, outlining key accomplishments under the regulatory regime and potential modifications moving forward.

As a threshold matter, the EC touts the REACH regulation as a success over a decade since it took effect, highlighting that it replaced a patchwork of nearly 40 different chemical control laws in Europe with one. Also, the report emphasizes that other countries such as South Korea have modeled their chemical management program after REACH.

The report notes that compliance with REACH has cost industry between 2.3-2.6 billion Euros; however, it claims that the public health and environmental benefits will be in excess of 100 billion Euros over the next 25-30 years.

The report also outlines several actions to improve the REACH program:

ACTION 1: Encourage updating of registration dossiers
The Commission in collaboration with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Member States and industry will identify why registrants are not updating their dossiers and make proposals for improvements by first quarter 2019, as appropriate.

ACTION 2: Improve evaluation procedures
ECHA is requested to significantly increase the efficiency of the evaluation procedures by 2019 by:

  1.  Identifying the main reasons for non-compliance of registration dossier and developing remedies;
  2.  Where appropriate, applying the various evaluation procedures in parallel;
  3.  Systematically implementing a grouping approach, where this is possible;
  4.  Improving work-sharing across evaluation activities with Member States; and,
  5.  Improving decision-making procedures.

Moving forward, the report notes that ECHA will see a significant decrease in funding around 2020 as the regulation is fully implemented and industry user fees will drop substantially, observing it will need identify alternative funding mechanisms in the future.

The EC concludes the report, remarking that REACH is “effective, but opportunities for further improvement, simplification, and burden reduction have been identified.”​​