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Companies must work together to register chemicals for REACH

By Guy Montague-Jones , 02-Jun-2009

There is an “urgent need for action” to ensure that companies meet the first substance registration deadline under REACH of November 2010, according to the ECHA.

At a stakeholder’s day in Helsinki, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) emphasized the importance of forming Substance Information Exchange Fora (SIEFs) promptly, in preparation for REACH registration.

The idea behind SIEFs is that companies planning to register the same substance share information to avoid duplication of studies and agree on classification and labelling if necessary. Joining a SIEF is a legal obligation for all registrants.

Need for speed

In Helsinki, ECHA reinforced the importance of timely action.

The executive director of ECHA Geert Dancet said: “Companies throughout Europe are preparing to register chemicals by the end of November next year and ECHA is doing its best to encourage them to make urgent progress in their Substance Information Exchange Fora so that they don’t miss that crucial date. Remember, the clock is ticking…”

At the conference in Helsinki, which is viewable online until 27 June, companies also raised their concerns about the need for clarity and guidance on a variety of issues.

These included the existence of an “opt out” option for sharing data with other companies, the roles and responsibilities of Lead Registrants and the timing of Lead Registrants’ submissions.

Lead Registrant is a technical term for the company that takes the lead in developing the registration dossier on behalf of other companies who manufacture or import the same substance.

Additional support

ECHA said it will provide additional support for these companies. The agency will also promote examples of best practice from companies that are well advanced in the registration process.

Alongside the stakeholder’s day in Helsinki, ECHA launched two new sections to its website, Help and SIEF, to provide easy access to technical documents and helpdesk support for registration and to give an overview of the critical information on SIEFs.

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