Last call for companies to register chemicals

The Commission reminds companies that they must register the most widely used or most dangerous chemicals by the deadline of 30 November 2010. Registration is one of the milestones of REACH, the EU Regulation on chemicals and their safe use Companies are also reminded that they must notify the Classification and Labelling of their chemicals to European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by 3 January 2011.

As of 10 September about 4000 dossiers have been submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the rate is increasing very rapidly. Companies are urged to finalise their dossiers and submit them as soon as possible. Lead registrars are encouraged to register by 30 September, to allow a safety margin in case of problems with their registrations and sufficient time for other registrars to introduce their dossiers before end November. Companies must submit their dossier electronically via the EU Regulation on chemicals and their safe use Companies (REACH-IT) tool.

The registration process does not only affect the chemicals industry, but also operators who do not directly belong to the chemicals sector, such as metal or textile producers.

The Commission and ECHA are doing all they can to support industry in this exercise. A Group of senior managers from the Commission, ECHA and industry associations has been working successfully to make the registration process smoother. ECHA has increased efforts to publish detailed guidance in 22 EU languages.

The effort from industry should also be acknowledged. The deadline is coming up fast and it is a challenge to establish and manage work within the Substance Information Exchange fora, where they share data on chemicals for the purpose of registration.Users of chemicals depend on the availability of substances on the market and on timely registration. What is more, following registration, they must comply with the improved safety recommendations made by their suppliers, or in certain cases make their own risk assessments for their specific uses.

Companies are also reminded that they need to reclassify the substances they sell according to new rules on Classification and Labelling of hazardous substances by 1 December 2010, and then notify the classifications to ECHA by 3 January 2011.

Classification is essential to determine whether a chemical is dangerous for health and the environment, and it will determine the information on the labels of products that workers and consumers use. It is important to note that these notifications must also be sent for small quantities of chemicals. This means many more companies are affected including SMEs.