Around 250 stakeholders including national authorities, industry associations, companies, NGOs and academics gathered at the headquarters of the European Chemicals Agency on May 22 for the 2019 ECHA Conference. The theme of the conference was chemical safety, and was divided into three areas – improving compliance of registration data, tackling substances of concern and improving safe use of chemicals.
Mike Rasenberg, head of computational assessment unit at ECHA discussed strategies for increasing efficiency in screening substances by strategic groupings. Ofelia Bercaru, head of hazard IV unit, ECHA, said that over the past year, EHCA staff have checked over 2700 dossiers and they have evaluated 25% of substances registered above 1000 tonnes. She noted that the reasons for non-compliance include the waiving of data requirements, adaptations not justified, insufficient documentation (for example, inadequate detail to support an independent assessment). Action has been taken to support compliance, such as providing evaluation reports that include advice. These evaluation decisions are available on ECHA website. The number of compliance checks will be increased by ECHA, and she pointed out that it is important for industry to expect the checks to increase.
In the next session, looking at the challenges in tackling substances of concern, ECHA’s Sandrine Lefevre-Brevart presented a case study on microplastics. She discussed the proposed restriction being developed for microplastics, which includes agreeing upon a harmonized definition of microplastics, regulating use and instructions for use. The restriction is still a proposal and public consultations are underway until September 20: https://echa.europa.eu/restrictions-under-consideration/-/substance-rev/22921/term.
In summary, ECHA’s deputy executive director Jukka Malm, said ECHA is working to improve the consistency and quality of the work, still hampered by unreliable data and lack of data. Compliant data is the foundation of safe use, and will be a high priority for ECHA in the upcoming period.
Reported by Leslie Burt, Chemical Matters