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Chemical Regulation – the Outlook for 2020

Chemical Regulation – the Outlook for 2020

  • United Kingdom
  • Environment
  • Chemicals
  • Diversified industrials

21-01-2020

The below summarises some of the key chemical’s regulation related changes expected in 2020 or which industry should be preparing for during 2020.

SCIP Database

ECHA is expected to launch a prototype version of the Substances of Concern In articles as such or in complex objects (Products) Database in early 2020. From 5 January 2021 suppliers of articles containing a Substance of Very High Concern (Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern) (“SVHC”) above 0.1% weight by weight (w/w) have to submit information to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for inclusion in this new database. Suppliers of articles will be able to submit information when the “production version” of the database is released, expected to be in October 2020.

REACH already required suppliers of articles containing an SVHC in a concentration above 0.1% (w/w) to provide the recipient with sufficient information to enable safe use of that article (including as a minimum the name of that SVHC). This information had to be provided pro-actively to professional users and to consumers within 45 calendar days of a request. The additional obligation to submit information to the SCIP database (imposed under the revised Waste Framework Directive) is intended to support the circular economy. In particular by supporting the substitution of SVHCs, providing information relevant to waste separation and recycling to support waste operators in making sure that SVHCs are not incorporated in recycled materials in the future and allowing authorities to monitor the use of SVHCs and initiate appropriate actions relevant to the whole lifecycle of the article. It is also expected that the database will enable consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions.

EHCA has published the detailed information which needs to be submitted to the database which includes:

  • information relevant to the identification of the article (product);
  • name, concentration range and location of the SVHC; and
  • other information on the safe use of the article, in particular if the above information is not sufficient to ensure the proper management of the article as waste.

The SCIP database does not apply to articles supplied directly and exclusively to consumers where there is no other distributor or other actor involved in the supply chain.

Industry will need to ensure that it has the required information in order to submit this to the SCIP database in advance of the 5 January 2021 deadline.

SVHCs

The SVHC list was updated 16 January 2020 and is expected to be updated again in June/July. Industry will need to take this update list into account in relation to its obligations under REACH to provide information on SVHCs and also when submitting information to the SCIP Database.

European Commission Green Deal

As part of the European Commission’s Green Deal released December 2019 the Commission will present a chemicals strategy for sustainability by Summer 2020. The Commission will also review how to move towards a process of ‘one substance - one assessment’ and to provide greater transparency when prioritising action to deal with chemicals.

Compliance Checks of REACH Registration Dossiers

ECHA has stated that it will continue to accelerate the speed of its compliance checks. ECHA and the Commission agreed in 2019 to increase the target for checking registration dossiers for each tonnage band from 5% to 20%.

ECHA’s aim is to screen all registration dossiers submitted by the 2018 deadline: by 2023 for substances registered over 100 tonnes per year and by 2027 for substances in the tonnage band 1-100 tonnes per year. ECHA will also check the compliance of at least 30 % of substances. Similar substances will be assessed in groups to gain efficiency and ensure that proposals for further regulatory action are consistent. For high tonnage substances, ECHA will conclude by the end of 2020 whether they are a priority for risk management, for data generation or currently of low priority for further action.

Industry should monitor any communications received from ECHA to ensure that any requirements to undertake additional testing are actioned by the relevant deadline.

REACH Restrictions/other

ECHA is expected to develop restriction dossiers for lead in gunshot, bullets and fishing tackle and will submit those to the European Commission in October. This may then lead to ECHA committees dealing with other restriction proposals including those involving microplastics, formaldehyde and skin sensitisers in textiles.

The restriction on PFOA under REACH is expected to be deleted and replaced with a revised ban under the Regulation on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) this is to reflect its inclusion on the Stockholm Convention.

Poison Centres

Industry should be preparing for the 1 January 2021 deadline (delayed from 1 January 2020) to submit poison centre notifications to appointed bodes for mixtures intended for consumer and professional use.

This deadline was delayed as national authorities and other stakeholders raised concerns regarding the workability of these requirements in particular due to the effects of high variability in mixture composition due to the natural origin of components and difficulties of knowing the exact composition of products in complex supply chains. Once solutions have been identified to address these issues, amendments to the requirements will be needed prior to this deadline to allow industry sufficient time to action the revised requirements. The Commission has made clear that this postponement does not affect the need for Member States to have their systems in good operational order prior to 1 January 2021 to allow importers and downstream users sufficient time to prepare their submissions.

The deadlines for submission of relevant information for mixtures for professional (1 January 2021) and industrial use (1 January 2024) remain unchanged.

EU Chemicals Legislation Finder

ECHA is expected to launch its new legislation finder service which will provide a central access point to find information on numerous EU laws covering chemicals. ECHA will initially start publishing information on 40 pieces of EU legislation.

The service is expected to be helpful to industry and also the European Commission and national  authorities to help them identify substances for which there may be regulatory overlaps or gaps.

Biocides

ECHA is intending to increase its support to Member States as part of the active substances review programme in an attempt to increase the number of reviewed active substances.

Brexit

No 2020 outlook update would be complete without mention of Brexit. The UK will no longer be a member of the EU from 31 January 2020. A transition/implementation period will run until 31 December 2020. During the implementation period market access will continue on the current terms and REACH will continue to apply in the UK. If not already, companies which do business in the UK and/or part of their supply chain involves the UK should consider the impacts and ensure appropriate steps are taken to minimise any supply chain disruption.

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