Head of ECHA, Geert Dancet, Urges EU Commission to Remedy Nanomaterials ‘Headache’

« ECHA head repeats call for REACH annexes to be amended quickly.
“The head of ECHA, Geert Dancet, has repeated the plea he made to the European Commission, last year, for it to speedily issue proposed information requirements for the registration of nanomaterials.

The proposals were originally expected from the Commission 18 months ago but have been delayed by difficulties in finalising the related impact assessment.
In his annual presentation to the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, he said that “on the substances that matter most, there remain two headaches for us” – nanomaterials and endocrine disruptors.

Outlining the work Echa currently does, he explained that the agency sends individual information requests to companies, when it finds a REACH registration dossier that appears to cover the production or use of a substance in the nanoform.

But many of its requests to the registrants, for more information, have been appealed by the companies involved, and, once an appeal has been made, the information request is suspended, “which means we are unable to learn more about the impact of nanos”.
Mr Dancet said that while 5 % of all of Echa’s dossier compliance check decisions have been appealed, the figure rises to 40 % when the decision covers nanoforms.
He added that he was “particularly concerned” that some companies “are even challenging the premise that REACH covers nanos at all”.

Therefore, he said, “I repeat my hope of last year that the Commission will revise the REACH annexes [covering dossier information requirements] so that we can effectively implement REACH and reduce the legal uncertainties.”
In response, Klaus Berend, head of the REACH unit in the Commission industry directorate, DG GROW, told the committee the Commission is “working very intensely” on finalising the impact assessment, but it “has not been easy because we have to balance the need for more clarity with the costs for companies that work in this highly innovative area, especially for SMEs.”

The Commission plans to achieve this by the end of 2015, he said, and to have a proposal for amending the annexes “very soon thereafter”.

EDCs a ‘similar story’

Mr Dancet said there was “a similar story” on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Here again, work on an impact assessment must be completed, before long awaited criteria for their identification will be proposed by the Commission.
Last year, Sweden launched legal proceedings against the Commission because it failed to introduce criteria for EDCs for biocides, by the deadline stipulated in the EU biocidal products Regulation.

Although Echa is using the World Health Organization to identify EDCs, said Mr Dancet, “it would be clearer for everybody involved if there were EU criteria for this important group of SVHCs.”


Article of Geraint Roberts
Committee video : http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20151006IPR96128/html/Committee-on-the-Environment-Public-Health-and-Food-Safety

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