Using freedom of information rules, a German environmental charity has revealed some of the chemicals, companies and sectors implicated in 41 dossiers that violated the requirements of REACH.

The report by BUND (in German) has identified 654 separate companies in the dossiers, of which 80 are registered in the UK. The data is based on a study conducted in 2018 by the Federal Office for Risk Assessment and the Federal Environmental Agency. The authorities found that the majority of data submitted by companies do not meet the requirements of the REACH Regulation.

REACH is the largest environmental regulation produced by the European Union, and companies are continuing to work hard on its implementation. By submitting more than 90,000 registrations for almost 22,000 substances since the beginning of REACH, the chemical industry has directly contributed to the development of the most comprehensive database on chemicals in the world.

No other region in the world is following Europe in this respect or comes even close to the amount of work done. The task at hand for both large and small companies is enormous, especially as lack of enforcement allows foreign competitors to freely compete on the European market without the same efforts.

Commenting on the publication, Cefic Director General Marco Mensink said: ”The European chemical industry is making REACH work, already today. We take ECHA’s findings that the quality of data in a number of REACH dossiers needs improvement seriously, and we will be fully transparent about our actions to remedy the situation where it is appropriate. The industry is already actively working with ECHA and the European Commission to identify those areas where improvements are needed.

“The issues raised by the BUND report are not new as all involved are already working on this issue. This type of messaging is not helpful at all, nor is the individual naming and shaming of companies who are working hard to effectively and efficiently address REACH dossiers in line with the latest methodologies, guidance and better use of alternative strategies to minimise testing on animals.”

While EEB chemicals policy manager, Tatiana Santos, said: “This should worry investors and downstream companies as much as citizens. Thousands are handling substances that could cause them major brand or financial problems. ECHA has sat on this problem for years. We see the agency moving in the right direction, but why all the secrecy? The very foundation of EU chemical safety rules are being ignored. BUND revealed the tip of the iceberg; now it is on ECHA to tell us the rest. We have a right to know if chemicals are safe or not. REACH is the best, most ambitious chemical regulation in the world and one that made us proud to be Europeans when it was first created. But that counts for little if it is not taken seriously.”

Last reviewed 6 June 2019