This year sees the final deadline loom for the registration of substances for the European Union’s REACH legislation. Billed as one of the most complex legislations in the Union’s history and one of the most important in 20 years, the law focuses in on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals.
So who does this legislation impact? Well, by 1st June 2018 anyone who manufactures or imports any substance in quantities of 1 tonne per annum must be registered if they want to continue to do so. Therefore, simply any company importing goods in to Europe could be affected. At Trelleborg our manufacturing operations see us use a variety of substances to produce our high-quality products for the most demanding of environments. We have always aimed to work with the most reputable and safest suppliers and have been working with our suppliers in lead up to this legislation to ensure compliance.
Although this EU directive might sound complicated and that it will impact many businesses, it comes from a very good place. It is driven by the need to minimise the potential impacts of chemical substances on both human health and the environment, mirroring our beliefs at Trelleborg Antivibration Solutions. Currently there are thousands of chemicals used across industries whose impact on the environment and human health is not tested. REACH will see any chemical produced or imported to the EU be tested to ensure it is safe to continue to be used. Only businesses with specific authorisation from the European Chemicals Agency will be able to use hazardous chemicals but will be frequently reviewed and pushed to seek alternative substances.
This increasing movement to increase greater sustainability and safety, is not just a trend we see in Europe. An increasing number of new regulations have been introduced since REACH came in to force in 2007, driven by the awareness that previous directives were not up to standard. China, Malaysia, Korea and Taiwan are all countries that have introduced REACH-like regulations in recent years.
Around 30,000 chemical substances have been registered over the last 11 years as part of the REACH legislation and now the end is in sight. When it comes to minimising the risk to human health and the environment, more rigorous requirements are no bad thing. This legislation will further protect workers, the environment and quality of products, which is ultimately to the benefit of everyone.