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12 October 2018

REACH: NGO criticises poor quality of registration dossiers

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) says that 32% of the chemicals made or imported into the European Union since 2010 in quantities exceeding 1 000 tonnes per year have breached the REACH regulations. This statement is based on a joint study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, BfR) and the German Environment Agency (UBA).

These two bodies assessed the quality of dossiers submitted by manufacturers and importers of 1 814 chemicals placed on the European market in quantities exceeding 1 000 tonnes per year. Under the REACH regulations, these documents should contain data on the toxicity of these substances for the environment and humans in order to guarantee their safe use. They are submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

On average, 32 % of these widely used substances failed a dossier assessment test. 40 % of the dossiers submitted did not meet the legal requirements for the assessment of mutagenic effects (capability of inducing genetic mutations) and 34 % were in breach with regard to their effects on fertility. Only 31 % met the REACH requirements for toxicological and ecotoxicological information. The remaining percentage involved dossiers that needed more investigation.

The report was presented during a workshop hosted by the BfR on 23 and 24 August 2018.

Based in Helsinki, the ECHA is drowning under registration dossiers, which currently number over 40 000 (for nearly 150 000 molecules in circulation). However, the ECHA has told the daily newspaper Le Monde that it has only been able to ‘check the compliance’ of 1 780.  

Sources: EEB, Le Monde

Further reading: Press release of the European Environmental Bureau

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