Trade body the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)  admits that REACH is challenging for businesses but also believes that it is working.

However, it is keen for greater clarity about what happens after the current time frame of 2018 for implementation runs out. Cefic released a statement from its Brussels headquarters in October saying: “REACH is the cornerstone of EU chemicals legislation. REACH entered into force in June 2007 with three different registration phases for chemicals, starting with high tonnage chemicals. The current third registration phase for chemicals – between one and 100 tonnes – is ongoing until 2018.

“Eight years down the road, REACH is working and the European Chemicals Agency has created a powerful database on chemicals, a veritable EU ‘chemicals Wikipedia’. “Cefic has been very active in making REACH work, explaining this very complex legislation to its direct and indirect membership. “In view of the REACH review in 2017, now is the moment to start to draw the lessons from the experience in implementing REACH. The Commission has launched a number of studies to this effect. Cefic will actively contribute to the upcoming discussions.”

In particular, Cefic says it will look closely at:

  • whether REACH has delivered on its objectives in bringing increased competitiveness and innovation for the European chemicals industry
  • how to make REACH work better for SMEs and downstream users
  • the prioritisation and coordination of enforcement as key elements in the successful and efficient implementation of REACH
  • specific areas of safety concerns, such as endocrine disruption, nano materials, combination effects and substances in articles
  • ways to progress sustainable chemistry and to advance regulatory science  so as to stimulate innovation
  • international regulatory and chemical management cooperation as a means to raise the level of safe chemicals management globally
  • making sure that REACH assumes the role of reference-legislation in an integrated and consistent framework of EU chemicals law.