REACH regulations outside the EU
by Ellen Thornton at 09:34 in Emerging, Environmental, Content
EU REACH regulations encompass the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemical substances manufactured or imported into the EU or EEA above 1 tonne per year. This regulation provides an extensive database of the risks and uses of chemical substances, mixtures and articles and the opportunity for information sharing between companies who use the same chemical. Substances have been registered by companies in phases based on their tonnage band, starting with more than 1000 tonnes per year in 2010 and followed by 100 - 1000 tonnes per year in 2013. As the last registration deadline looms for substances manufactured or imported above 1 tonne per year, REACH is set to be the largest chemical database in the world and countries outside the EU are following suite. Registration can be a lengthy and costly process due to the various data gathering requirements, often making it a daunting task especially for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
On the 23rd June, Turkey published a draft of its REACH-like regulation, KKDIK, in the countries Official Gazette. Similar to REACH, the regulation applies to all chemical substances on their own, in a preparation or in an article which are manufactured or imported into Turkey in volumes above 1 tonne per year. Again, registration is split into tonnage bands, with different bands requiring different data requirements and risk assessments. However, unlike REACH, companies who fall under all tonnage bands have the same pre-registration and registration deadlines.
In the US, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements and restrictions relating to chemical substances and mixtures. Registered chemicals become part of the Inventory which currently holds around 85,000 chemicals. The previously ‘outdated' Act was reformed last year in a way to give the EPA more power and responsibility with the ability to request health and safety data for untested chemicals. However, it has come under criticism from the Natural Resources Defence Council who warned that it contains ‘loopholes and rollbacks'. These include restrictions on the authority of states and limits on the EPA monitoring chemicals in imported products that may be a threat to public health. The Environmental Working Group agreed that the rewrite may not provide the EPA with the necessary resources or clear legal authority the agency needs to quickly review and if necessary, ban dangerous chemicals.
Under the Swiss Chemicals Ordinance (ChemO), all new substances above 1 tonne per year must be notified or declared in Switzerland before they are placed on the market. Switzerland has adopted elements of the EU REACH regulation in that it uses the REACH Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) list where suppliers of articles containing above 0.1% of a SVHC must provide sufficient information to consumers. Furthermore, notification of a substance is identical to EU REACH registration.
The Toxic Chemicals Control Act (TCCA) came into force on 2nd February 1991 and was divided into Korea REACH and Chemicals Control Act (TCA) in 2015. Korea REACH focuses on registration and evaluation of substances while CCA focuses on the control of hazardous substances and responses to chemical accidents. Korea REACH mirrors EU REACH, as such it requires manufacturers or importers to register new chemical substances and designated existing substances which are manufactured, imported or sold in volumes greater than 1 tonne per year.
The revised Toxic Chemical Substances Control ACT (TCSCA) came into force in 2013, implementing two phases of registrations. The pre-registration deadline was on 31st March 2016 which covered all substances that are manufactured or imported above 0.1 tonne per year, one of the lowest volumes required for registration in any country. There is currently a registration process for any new substances, i.e. any that weren't pre-registered to the Taiwan Chemical Substance Inventory, that are manufactured or imported in volumes over 0.1 tonne per year. Although some designated substances are required to be registered regardless of whether they are already listed on the Inventory.
Many countries have adopted a REACH-like registration process and regulations which requires companies manufacturing or importing as little as 0.1 tonnes per year of a substance to register. This means that many SMEs as well as large companies are covered by the same regulation and must undergo the same, lengthy and often expensive registration process. However, registration is usually just the first step and in most countries, substances will undergo an evaluation process of their risks and uses. Furthermore, companies using substances are required to keep up to date with ‘authorisation' and hence restricted use, resulting in a search for affordable alternatives.
For more information about REACH outside the EU, please contact us here.
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