Report confirms safety improvements in Europe

Report confirms safety improvements in Europe


In its second report on the operation of REACH and CLP, ECHA states that chemicals are used more safely, leading to higher protection for people and the environment. Notwithstanding, further progress is needed – particularly concerning the quality of registration and classification data on chemicals submitted by companies.

Helsinki, 26 May 2016 – In its report, ECHA describes the main achievements and challenges of the groundbreaking EU chemicals legislation. As the main benefits so far, the report highlights the wealth of information on chemicals that is now freely available on ECHA's website. Increased knowledge of chemical properties leads to improved chemicals management, to safer products and to the phasing out of the most dangerous substances.

Geert Dancet, the Executive Director of ECHA says: 'REACH and CLP are unequivocally leading to a safer Europe. Citizens can now easily find out about the hazards of the chemicals they use. In the report, ECHA makes many commitments to further improve its services. The recommendations encourage all other actors in the process – industry associations, Member States, the European Commission – to do their share so that we'll have comprehensive and reliable data to identify chemicals of serious concern and adopt the most appropriate risk management measures.'

Among the main recommendations of the report, ECHA highlights that companies need to  update and improve the quality of the registration data and safety data sheets on chemicals. So far, this has not been done consistently enough. An implementing regulation to clarify the update obligations of companies would help.

Companies also need to provide more thorough data on the nanoforms of substances they produce rather than holding back on providing data on nanos. The European Commission should soon clarify the legal requirements in REACH about nanomaterials.  

ECHA recommends a review of the requirements in the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP) because companies provide contradictory classifications for substances. ECHA proposes for this regulation to be amended to require companies to share data and agree on the classification. 

The interface between REACH and CLP and other legislation should be optimised by making more use of the data generated to comply with other EU chemicals legislation. Synergies with REACH and CLP should also be strengthened when reviewing other chemicals legislation. This would reduce unnecessary burdens on businesses and provide more clarity for consumers.

To help consumers make informed choices, every EU citizen needs to have more reliable information on the substances of very high concern in the products they buy. Companies are required to notify ECHA of such substances in products, but very few have done this so far. ECHA recommends a review of the notification obligations in the context of the circular economy.

Finally, ECHA does not see any imminent need to revise the REACH Regulation.

Background information

ECHA has published its second report on the implementation of REACH and CLP. The report provides a picture of the impact, success and remaining challenges of implementing the European chemicals legislation. It also makes commitments and gives recommendations to the European Commission, Member States and industry.

Fact box

  • ECHA has published more than 54 000 registration dossiers it has received for 14 000 substances on its website.
  • Nearly 10 000 companies have registered chemicals.
  • Over 10 000 companies have informed ECHA of their substance's classification.
  • Hundreds of companies have directly or indirectly applied for authorisation to use a substance of very high concern.
  • Nearly 3 000 companies have submitted inquiries to find fellow registrants of their substance.
  • ECHA's database has information on more than 120 000 chemicals.
  • 31 of the 168 substances of very high concern have been placed on the Authorisation List – they cannot be used without a specific authorisation.
  • 20 restrictions made under REACH limit the use and reduce risks of hazardous chemicals.
  • 200 opinions on harmonised classification and labelling trigger further risk management actions.