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REACH review supports ECHA's strategic objectives


The REACH review, published by the European Commission, reports on the regulation's effect and the recommendations to reinforce ECHA's long term strategic objectives. ECHA welcomes and looks forward to the Commission's follow-up actions announced in the report and on which ECHA's planning depends.

The European Commission notes in its REACH review report that the REACH Regulation functions well and delivers on all the objectives as demonstrated by the valuable studies it summarised in the Staff Working Document. The review in particular notes that REACH has improved the safe use of chemicals both for human health and the environment.

While the registration has been successful, ECHA agrees with the Commission's findings that the quality of registration dossiers still needs to improve. Improving the quality of the registration information is the first of the Agency's four strategic objectives.

According to the Commission's report, listing of the substances of very high concern (SVHCs) to the Candidate List for authorisation and the consequent selection to the Authorisation List have already increased the substitution of the most hazardous substances in the supply chain. However, delays incurred in the past in this process can only be recovered by setting an ambitious roadmap for identifying and addressing all relevant SVHCs by 2020, which is the core of ECHA's second strategic objective.

The Commission's report also states that REACH sets the best regulatory framework for the risk management of nanomaterials. These, and other scientifically challenging areas such as mixture toxicity or endocrine disrupting chemicals, are indeed covered by REACH but require further clarification and ECHA is prepared to assist the Commission in tackling the new challenges in legislation and its evaluation practice. These aspects are included in ECHA's third strategic objective.

The Commission acknowledges ECHA's achievements during the first challenging years of its existence but recommends the Agency to further improve its efficiency and effectiveness. This aspect is covered by ECHA's fourth strategic objective.

Finally, the Commission's REACH review calls on ECHA to proactively assist SMEs in their registration and downstream user obligations, in particular, by providing more targeted and user-focused guidance. ECHA will be looking into this as a matter of priority after the 2013 registration deadline.

"Implementing REACH is the most challenging legislative programme, which will continue to require the commitment and resources of all the key players including industry, the Member States, the Commission and ECHA. The review provides many new assignments for ECHA which can only be met if the Agency receives adequate staffing and revenues through fees or subsidies. One thing is for sure - the workload for ECHA will remain high at least until 2020," said Geert Dancet, ECHA's Executive Director.

» Review of REACH

Source: European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)