The EU media Platform Euractiv--with the support of the Nickel Institute--recently held a Stakeholders Workshop on REACH Authorization. The theme of the event, "'What isthe Impact for Industry, SMEs and Consumers?'" stressed the need for a strong Risk Management Option (RMO) analysis to be performed as early as possible in the authorization process in order to identify the appropriate regulatory measures. The need for REACH to take into account the essentiality of substances was also highlighted, as well as the potential negative impact of authorization and substitution on achieving the objectives of other EU policies:climate change, resource efficiency, etc.
The workshop was structured around a panel debate comprising speakers from Eurometaux, ECHA and the European Parliament. Event participants ranged from downstream users in the stainless steel, battery, catalyst, petrochemicals, and aviation markets as well as representatives from the industrial minerals sector and the engineering community. Public authorities from Poland, Portugal, and Russia were also in attendance.
According to the event's organizers, the panel discussion provided an excellent forum for an open, constructive discussion on the REACH Authorization process, its implications, and a possible way forward.
Following are a few issues raised by the panelists:
- EC and ECHA need to focus their action on demystifying the belief that making a substance subject to Authorization equals a ban of that substance. According to panel members, this is a "misperception" inflated by some stakeholders.
- REACH Authorization might result in potential negative impacts, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises such as platers. In short, the costs related to REACH Authorization are significant, which could force small or medium-sized companies to close or relocate outside the EU.
A video featuring comments from some of the panel members is available online.