REACH – otherwise known as Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, is a European wide piece of legislation that falls under the European Community Regulation. This was enforced on the 1st of June 2007 to ensure the industry takes greater care in making others aware of the risks that chemicals can pose both environmentally and to human health. REACH legislation will primarily have the aim to ensure:
Essentially, REACH ensures greater scrutiny of the industry. It involves a vast range of industries including AgroChemical, Automotives, Food and Additives. Pre-registration stage (the period to register all chemical substances in a registration dossier) ended December 1st 2008. Those who did register products by this period enjoy extended deadlines that are staggered over three periods: 30th November 2010 (substances over 1000tonnes), 31st May 2013 (substances above 100tonnes) and 31st May 2018 (substances above 1tonne). Products below 1tonne do not need to be registered. Companies also had up until June 2009 to register substances of concern.
- Protection of Human Health
- Protection to the environment
- Ensure manufacturers as well as downstream users (sellers) of chemical products take responsibility for managing risks and ensuring proper use
- Allow free movement of substances within EU Market
- Ensure competitiveness within the industry
- Identify substitutes where extremely dangerous and hazardous chemicals are being used
If chemical substances used to manufacture other chemical substances are never separated from the mixture of other chemicals inside a closed system, they are fully exempt from REACH (non-isolated intermediates). Intermediates that are separated out during the production process (isolated intermediates) will have to be registered, but with simplified information requirements commensurate with their lower risk.
This is a brief overview of the REACH legislation and it is more complicated than explained. However, it is clear this is a highly interesting and rewarding career path both for Regulatory staff involved in the registration process but also for those careers closely associated. These can include Toxicolgist, Technicians, Scientist and so forth. The primary responsibilities involved within REACH are Regulatory staff and Consultants. Regulatory staff will be involved in the registration process and compiling of dossiers which will include Safety Data Sheets and Chemical Safety Reports. Consultants will offer strategic advice to departments on compliance issues or strategy centred on SIEF (Substance Information Exchange Fora).
REACH regulation is a new and electrifying area to be involved in. The demand for REACH specialists is high as there is clearly a lack of expertise available. You can join large multinational chemical companies or even join small consultancies which employ a handful of consultants who will visit client sites to offer REACH services. In the run up to the 2010 registration, now is a better time than ever to establish a career within reach.
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