New Access to Chemicals Information in the EU: ECHA Launches Two New Platforms
The European Chemicals Agency ("ECHA") has recently launched two new online platforms to improve public knowledge on chemicals and related European Union regulations.
The first one, called EU Chemicals Legislation Finder ("EUCLEF"), which is an online search tool, became operational on March 11, 2020. For each substance searched on the ECHA Information on Chemicals Portal, EUCLEF identifies the different pieces of legislation applicable to the particular substance.
EUCLEF is supplemented by a regulatory support service allowing companies to ask questions on this legislation, and it also complements the already-existing 'Navigator,' which identifies REACH registrants' obligations under Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH).
The second platform is the SCIP database for information on Substances of Concern In articles as such or in complex objects (Products) established under the revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC ("WFD"). On February 17, 2020, ECHA released a prototype version of SCIP.
Essentially, Articles 9(1)(i) and (2) of the revised WFD require companies placing on the EU market articles containing Substances of Very High Concern ("SVHCs") on the REACH Candidate List in a concentration of above 0.1% weight by weight (w/w) to provide ECHA, as of January 5, 2021, with the information on SVHCs set out under Article 33 of REACH. This obligation does not extend to retailers or operators supplying articles directly and exclusively to consumers.
The information collected in the database would then be made available to waste management operators and consumers. Therefore, the aim of the SCIP database is to: (i) allow a better and safer recycling of waste, resulting in greater circular economy; and (ii) promote the substitution of hazardous substances.
At the same time, this new legal framework is expected to be a challenge for industry, since according to the ECHA Guidance on "Detailed information requirements for the SCIP database," companies will have to submit information, which goes beyond the requirements set under Article 33 of REACH (e.g. concentration ranges of the substances, location of the SVHCs in the article, etc.).
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