In a press release published on May 13, 2020, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced the release of its second annual report on the Integrated Regulatory Strategy, which provides an overview of progress made in addressing chemical substances of concern and on mapping the universe of chemicals. The agency reports that it has reviewed close to 220 substances registered within REACH with annual production or import volumes greater than 100 metric tons. Of these, 56% were found to need more data to determine any risk management, 22% require no further action, and 7% were identified as high priority for risk management. ECHA is placing each of the substances it reviews into a pool describing whether regulatory actions are in place, initiated, ongoing, or under consideration (FPF reported). Over 21,000 chemicals have been registered, and ECHA reports having already placed 2,970 of these into one of these four pools. It aims “for more clarity on all chemicals registered above 100 tonnes by the end of 2020” and to “have full clarity for all registered substances by 2027.”
Within the reviews of substances completed over the past year, ECHA has made use of a grouping approach. “Grouping similar substances helps to speed up and make regulatory actions more consistent. It also helps national authorities step up their efforts to manage chemical risks under REACH and other pieces of legislation,” said Jack de Bruijn from ECHA.
Overall recommendations given by the report include (i) optimizing the group screening of substances, data generation, and assessment to minimize regulatory delays, (ii) making harmonized classification and labeling a priority, (iii) swiftly reviewing previously identified but still pending follow-up actions, (iv) improving compliance registration information including regular updates of dossiers by industry when needed, and (v) further enhancing the cooperation between regulatory authorities.
ECHA (May 13, 2020). “Grouping of chemicals speeds up regulatory action.”
Luke Buxton (May 14, 2020). “EU ‘chemicals universe’ project set to generate extra data requests for industry.” Chemical Watch
Luke Buxton (May 21, 2020). “Echa pressed to clarify 2020 chemical universe pool allocation deadline.” Chemical Watch
Nick Hazlewood (July 7, 2020). “Feature: How are Echa’s plans to map its chemicals universe developing?” Chemical Watch
Leila Mead (July 9, 2020). “Grouping of Chemicals Facilitates Better Risk Management: European Chemicals Agency.” IISD
ECHA (May 13, 2020). “Grouping of chemicals speeds up regulatory action – Integrated Regulatory Strategy Annual Report.” (pdf)