The intensive REACH registration work will soon achieve another milestone, as the last deadline came into force in May. For us at Kemira, this has been a long journey that has lead to the registration of altogether over 130 substances. The positive outcome is that we can now offer customers even more precise and coherent information on its products and their safe use. As we are striving for sustainability, we foresee REACH as a tool to enhance competitiveness on the active European market.
From this June on, REACH will be fully in force and part of everyday business for all chemical companies in the European Union. The REACH regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals was enforced in the European Union in 2007 with the objective to ensure the protection of human health and the environment, to enhance the competitiveness of the chemical industry within the EU, and to guarantee the free movement of goods in the European market.
The majority of the substances manufactured or imported in quantities that total over one tonne per year need to be registered to European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) that also manages the public registered substances database. The regulation has had several transition phases until today. Pre-registrations were due by June 2008 and the first registration deadlines were in November 2010 and in May 2013 and the final one this May.
By the last deadline we have made altogether over 200 registrations for over 130 different substances. Out of these around a hundred registrations were already accomplished in 2010, when the big volume substances with volumes of more than 1000 tonnes manufactured, and substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMR) were due. Around 30 registrations were made in 2013 when the substances with volumes from 100 to 1000 tonnes per year were due and the rest around 70 registrations between 2013 until this May.
For us, this registration process has meant a lot of cooperation between our own manufacturing sites and internal stakeholders, such as product line management and sourcing, as well as with other companies in the chemical industry. REACH registration process of a substance lasts from two months to over various years’ time. The registration work is time consuming, but while Kemira has in many cases relied on external resources a wealth of work has been conducted internally as well.
Safety and sustainability have always been a priority at Kemira. We are all always striving to find better solutions and replacing substances with less hazardous and more sustainable ones. We have over 2,200 products that contain around 5,000 substances. The REACH registration has brought more information on how to use these substances safely. The compliance needs to be confirmed with the whole supply chain and Kemira is not only supplying compliant products but also requiring the products supplied to us to be compliant.
REACH registered substances have gone through certain tests to identify the possible hazard properties. We are now able to deliver our customers even more precise and coherent information on the products and their safe use. That enhances the safety of our customers and our employees as well.
This May, the intense interim registration period has ended but the requirements on REACH compliance stay. Evaluating the compliance on the REACH status is a must for any new business activities or for example in case the recipes of the products change or the manufacturing is relocated to another site. Also new customers may have new uses for the products that need to be taken into account in the registration. From now on, ECHA’s focus will be more on the quality of the dossiers and on the evaluation work. This will most likely trigger actions in the industry, as new data requirements may appear.
So far REACH is the most comprehensive chemicals management plan in the world and it gives a good kick to the whole chemistry industry – and above all a competitive edge for those like us who are able to comply with it!
In case of any questions concerning the REACH regulation, please do not hesitate to contact: Auli Salakka, Director, Product Stewardship & Regulatory Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org