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Demystifying REACH


Reginald Tucker

The National Association for Surface Finishing (NASF) is offering members valuable assistance in deciphering Europe’s complex regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals—otherwise referred to by the acronym, “REACH.” The regulation—which went into effect in June 2007—aims to streamline a preceding legislative framework on chemicals by the European Union (EU). Among REACH’s main objectives: improve the protection of human health and the environment from the potential risks posed by chemicals; promote alternative test methods; support the free circulation of substances on the internal market; and enhance competitiveness and innovation.

REACH is for real—it might take awhile to be fully implemented, but it’s not going away, nor will it be overturned,” said Christian Richter, principal of The Policy Group in Washington, D.C. “REACH is already influencing domestic U.S. chemicals policies; some states are already looking at passing their own REACH laws. Some in Congress are looking at ways to advance some elements of the regulation in Washington.”

According to Richter, the new law will ultimately shape worldwide procurement decisions of finishing customers as well as commercial chemicals manufacturing and use directions into the future. Even if a finisher’s or manufacturer’s products or chemicals are not imported into the EU, he notes, their ultimate end-user customers might choose to voluntarily deselect certain coated materials used in their products. In short, this mandate poses additional demands on the entire supply chain.

In response, NASF and its intensely proactive Government Relations committee have assembled an assistance package designed to help industry members sort out the facts while educating and informing their customers. NASF’s REACH Guidance Program spans several phases. The first kicks off with the release of several important documents, including: the NASF Supplier Guidance; NASF Finisher Guidance; and NASF Model Response for REACH Inquiries. NASF members can access all three documents by visiting the association’s website. Also available to members are copies of presentations that were given during the NASF annual Washington Forum event held this past May as well as REACH-related presentations delivered at SUR/FIN 2008 back in June.

Moving forward, NASF and The Policy Group plan to issue a more detailed REACH guidance supplement that will include information NASF is currently collecting from finishers and suppliers in regards to specific applicability of the law.

NASF’s labor-intensive efforts on behalf of the surface finishing industry demonstrate yet again the tremendous value the association continues to offer to its membership. Efforts, I’m sure, that have not gone unnoticed by scores of industry members who are striving to remain responsible and compliant in an industry that has seen more than its fair share of regulatory mandates.

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Editorial  •  Environmental & Regulatory Compliance  •  Industry Trends & Happenings

 

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