European Chemicals Agency to Take the Reins

Just as the pre-registration of chemicals in the EU will move to the registration phase on June 1, 2008, and the registration of phase-in substances begins, the European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) will hand off its responsibilities to the newly created European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

For the last 15 years, the ECB has been responsible for assessing and controlling the risks posed by chemical substances, reports The ECB's work has been essential to the scientific and technical preparation of the Commission's proposals to update the list of dangerous substances for which harmonized classification and labeling have been agreed to at the community level, as well as updating the classification criteria.

Reportedly, the official inventory of classification and labeling for hazardous substances with toxicological and eco-toxicological potential currently lists about 3,400 entries, corresponding to around 7,900 substances. In full operation, the ECB coordinated many activities, such as chairing more than 400 meetings with member states' competent authorities and other stakeholders, helping them to reach a consensus.

In the last five years, the bureau worked on implementing an online management system, as well as archiving all relevant material for new REACH chemicals regulation. The management system now has 8,400 registered users and has been downloaded approximately 6,900 times by worldwide users.

The ECHA, located in Helsinki, Finland, will now take over from the ECB the primary responsibility for managing the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction processes for chemicals. Its work will thus ensure a benchmark of standards and consistency across the European Union. The ECHA is also responsible for maintaining REACH regulation standards.






Are you ready for REACH? Come and find out at C&T magazine's REACH Summit: Revisited, to be held Nov. 12, 2008, in New Brunswick, NJ USA. It's a year later, what have we learned? For more information, visit:


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