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BASF submits 40,000 preregistrations for REACHqrcode

Dec. 3, 2008

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Dec. 3, 2008
The preregistration phase of European REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) policy is complete on 1 December, which came into force on June 2007. BASF submitted some 40,000 preregistrations with the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) in Helsinki by the deadline, making BASF one of the companies most affected by REACH.

Substances that have not been preregistered are not allowed to be manufactured in or imported to the EU from the end of preregistration until their final registration. Registration deadlines differ depending on production volume and substance properties. “We went into this process well prepared,” said Dr. Ulrich von Deessen, head of the BASF Competence Center Environment, Health and Safety. “The effort has paid off – all our substances have been preregistered on schedule. Success factors include open dialogue with our customers and effective information sharing within the chemical industry. Developing pragmatic solutions with national and European authorities will also contribute to the successful implementation of REACH.”

2010 all substances manufactured or imported in annual volumes of 1000 tonnes or more must be registered. Also here, BASF is well set up to cope with the actual registration phase. The company is working with ECHA on the implementation of individual issues. For example, numerous technical details relevant to implementation of the REACH policy are not itemized in the policy itself, but were worked out in the REACH Implementation Projects (RIP). These projects were accomplished under the aegis of the European Commission in collaboration with industry, member states and non-government organizations. BASF contributed its expertise in the working groups involved.

Alone the interpretation of the REACH regulation may lead to extensive additional workload. This is shown in the regulation concerning reimporting. It is common practice for quite a number of substances to be packaged in non-EU countries and to be reimported afterwards. As a consequence of this regulation BASF had to file preregistrations in 15,000 cases for products not only for the production within Europe but also for the reimport of the same products from non-EU countries.

BASF is working even now on the development of particular tools to expedite REACH’s efficient and pragmatic implementation. The primary aim is to arrive at uniform European standards for the sharing of information. This is intended to ease workload both for the authorities and for industry. “REACH is an important and necessary reform of European chemicals legislation. That is why BASF is supporting the EU Commission in designing the practical implementation of the policy so that the criteria can be met by larger and smaller companies alike”, von Deessen comments.

One such IT platform is “SIEFreach”, an electronic portal enabling industry players to share information on individual substances. Participation is open to any entity that has preregistered a substance and wishes to post information to the portal. SIEFreach is a time- and cost-saving platform for the compulsory sharing of existing data. In the absence of studies such as required by REACH, participants can use the forum to arrange how to distribute the costs of the studies required. SIEFreach is the result of a joint initiative of multiple chemical industry associations.

BASF took steps early on to get ready for REACH. A REACH Implementation Team was set up back in 2005. Central databases were developed specially for compiling dossiers and to facilitate project management. The BASF Group estimates that implementing REACH will cost the company approximately €500 million to €550 million by the final implementation deadline in 2018.

The REACH policy is intended to harmonize and simplify chemicals legislation throughout Europe. Under the terms of REACH, chemical substances can be manufactured in or imported to the EU only if their effects on human health and the environment have been tested. All chemicals manufactured in or imported to the EU in annual volumes of one tonne or more need to be registered with the ECHA. The registration process involves submitting technical dossiers and safe handling data on each substance. The spectrum of documents required may range from physical and chemical data to (eco-) toxicology studies.

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