On June 20, 2019, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a press release announcing planned changes to the authorization process for chemicals under REACH. The agency outlined three specific changes: (i) applicants for authorization will be required to submit a substitution plan if suitable alternatives are available but not yet feasible for the applicant, (ii) the format for opinions by ECHA scientific committees will be revised and should clarify boundaries between scientific opinions made by the committees and the decisions made by the European Commission (EC), and (iii) ECHA “will standardize the [committees’] opinion texts to help rapporteurs build up more consistent and concise opinions.”

ECHA’s management board welcomed the changes, which are included in a joint evaluation action plan between ECHA and the EC that will be released early next week. “For applications for authorization, [ECHA] has duly considered the recent Court cases, listened to the European Parliament and other stakeholders and taken their feedback seriously. As for REACH evaluation, the joint action plan paves the way to address the lack of compliance of many registration dossiers,” said Sharon McGuinness, Chair of ECHA’s Management Board. “The Board encourages the Agency to continue to work with its stakeholders, further improve these key processes and take action where necessary. We will be looking forward to receiving information on the progress of these improvement actions.”

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ECHA (June 20, 2019). “Management Board supports efforts to improve REACH authorisation and evaluation.”

Luke Buxton (June 20, 2019). “Echa plans REACH authorisation process shake up.” Chemical Watch