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BRUSSELS--Companies struggling to complete registration dossiers ahead of the second deadline under the European Union’s REACH regulation might be able to obtain some form of leniency in certain circumstances, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) said March 1.
The second deadline falls May 31 and applies to chemicals produced in, or imported into, the European Union in annual volumes of 100-1,000 metric tons. ECHA has said that it expects about 3,000 substances to be registered by the deadline (37 CRR 176, 2/11/13).
Under normal circumstances, affected substances not registered by the deadline would be on the EU market illegally if they continued to be sold after May 31. Companies breaching REACH could face administrative orders, fines, or even criminal charges levied by EU member state enforcement authorities.
However, ECHA said in a statement that it will take into account certain “pressing and exceptional circumstances” in which “registrants may, through no fault of their own, find themselves in difficulty submitting a full registration dossier.”
ECHA said companies likely to have a problem submitting on time should contact its help services so that ECHA can “provide instructions on how to submit a registration by the deadline.”
ECHA said it would look upon registrants leniently in four types of cases:
• Importers cannot provide adequate physicochemical, toxicological, and ecotoxicological substance information for substances in mixtures because of a lack of information from their supply chains.
• It has not been technically possible for a company to obtain a preregistration because it has been through a recent merger or change of legal identity. Under REACH (Regulation No. 1907/2006 on the registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals), substances to be registered should have been preregistered by Dec. 1, 2008.
• The registrant is a member of a Substance Information Exchange Forum (SIEF) in which the lead registrant fails to meet the deadline. Under REACH, companies trading in the same substances are obliged to combine in SIEFs and nominate a lead registrant to submit a joint dossier to obtain a registration number. Subsequently, other SIEF members can submit individual dossiers that do not need to replicate the substance information in the joint dossier.
• Companies are obliged to take on the role of registrant because they use in their products substances for which there is no EU supplier.
ECHA said it will help companies in these situations “either by relying on its discretionary rights under REACH, or by providing companies with a transparent means to demonstrate good faith.”
The circumstances in which companies might face problems in submitting registrations were described in a paper prepared by the Directors’ Contact Group, a troubleshooting forum made up of representatives of ECHA, EU member states, and industry federations. The group was set up in 2010 ahead of the first REACH registration deadline to identify unforeseen difficulties that companies might face (34 CRR 167, 2/15/10).
According to the Directors’ Contact Group paper, companies notifying ECHA of problems in the four categories of cases could either have their “self declaration” recorded, in which case it could “be taken into account by the national enforcement authorities in case of control,” or they could be offered more time to complete their dossiers.
In these cases, ECHA said it could make use of Article 20(2) of REACH, which allows it to set a “reasonable deadline” for more information to be provided in the case of incomplete registrations.
By Stephen Gardner
Information on issues potentially impeding REACH registration is available at http://bit.ly/YcpIzM.
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