What’s happening with regard to chemical regulations internationally? Here are some updates we’ve prepared for you for November 2020.

European Commission publishes Chemicals Strategy

30 October 2020

On 14 October, the European Commission published its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability as part of the European Union’s zero pollution ambition and the European Green Deal.

Although the strategy is non-legislative, it clearly indicates that new legislative measures will be taken including a revision of the REACH Regulation.

The document presents a set of regulatory, legislative and soft measures to be carried out in the next four years, probably resulting in a complete overhaul of the current framework for chemicals.

Among others, the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability identifies the following priority areas:

  • endocrine disruptors,
  • combination effects of chemicals,
  • chemicals in products,
  • very persistent chemicals such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and
  • cooperation with third countries.

The planned revision of the REACH Regulation is expected for 2022 and will likely aim to broaden its scope, e.g. by adding more substances of very high concern (SVHC), and to streamline processes, e.g. with regard to registration and authorisation.

The new Chemicals strategy is also going to incorporate a hazard-based approach, meaning that the most hazardous substances would be almost automatically banned from consumer products.

Another important aspect is the strategic autonomy of the European Union. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the need to ensure a resilient supply of chemicals for essential applications. The Chemicals Strategy remains rather vague on how to increase resilience but refers to the Industrial Policy Strategy. However, the document indicates that the European Commission wants to create a level playing field between chemicals and products from the European Union and those from third countries.

More information on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability can be found here.

Brexit: Update of Guidance

Last month, Defra, the UK government department with policy responsibility for REACH, published a guidance update for the forthcoming UK REACH legislation – the first in almost 12 months. This guidance has arisen primarily as a consequence of a proposed amendment to the UK REACH statutory instrument that will extend registration deadlines.

For UK-based downstream users and distributors that will become importers from 1st January 2020

The deadline for notifications has increased from 180 days to 300 days. This means that affected UK companies will have until the 27th October 2021 to submit their notifications. These notifications will allow them to defer their new registration obligation for between two and six years after this date, depending on tonnage and hazard. Below is an excerpt from the GOV.UK website guidance detailing the deadlines:

UK government guidance

For UK-based registrants (including those who have transferred registrations to the EU)

The deadline for the first stage of grandfathering has not changed. It remains at 120 days from the 31st December 2020. Therefore, in order to benefit from an extended registration timeline, and to be able to manufacture/import into the UK temporarily without a registration, the first phase of grandfathering must be completed by 30th April 2021. After this has been completed, the same deadlines above will apply.

It is important to note that there is no general provision for extended registration deadlines, nor any expectation of “late notification” of “pre-registration” in UK REACH. Hence, to take advantage of the deferred registration timelines, either the first phase of grandfathering or a notification must be submitted. In the absence of either of these, a new full registration would be due before manufacture/import into the UK occurred at or above 1 tonne per year.

Previously, Defra have been reticent to publish guidance in the absence of any certainty – perhaps rightly so to avoid potential confusion with shifting deadlines. However, Defra having actually published an update further solidifies the idea that UK REACH will be entering into force at the end of the year. This is supported by previous statements by Defra ministers.

Hence, there should be no doubt that UK REACH is coming from 1st January 2021, and action should be taken accordingly.

For support in planning and executing your Brexit strategy, please contact us.

Turkish REACH regulation: pre-registration deadline is quickly approaching

Do you ship into Turkey? The new Turkish REACH regulation (KKDIK or Turkey REACH) is currently in the pre-registration phase which continues until 31st December 2020. Registrations for all tonnage bands must then be completed by 31st December 2023, unlike EU REACH, where different tonnages were phased in over time.

Registrants can be manufacturers, importers and only representatives. The registration requirement is for all substances manufactured or imported at or above 1 tonne per year, including substances intended to be released from articles.

The data requirements and risk assessment reports are similar to EU REACH. Reduced registration requirements apply for substances used for product and process-oriented research and to isolate intermediates. For polymers, monomers shall be registered if the volume of the monomer exceeds one tonne per year. Joint submission is mandatory.

For further information, please contact us.