IHS Chemical Week


Informex: Eating Reach for Breakfast

2:58 PM MST | January 29, 2009 | By ALEX SCOTT

Implementing the European Union’s (EU) Registration, Authorisation, and Evaluation of Chemicals (Reach) program was the topic under discussion at a breakfast briefing yesterday at Informex, the specialty chemicals expo running this week in San Francisco. The one thing that rapidly became clear during the meeting is that implementing Reach is going to be hard for all companies to digest because it is so complex and because it will take such a huge amount of time to administer at the company level.


A common thread from the meeting’s three speakers Thomas O’Neill, v.p./procurement for Lanxess, Tucker Helmes, senior director of Socma’s leadership group Socma Visions, and Jim DeLisi of Fanwood Chemicals (Fanwood, NJ) was that chemical companies subject to Reach need to be careful when they participate in data sharing consortia and Substance Information Exchange Forums (SIEF). The examples of potential legal pitfalls from intellectual property issues through to compliance with competition laws, are many, the speakers say.


Despite the daunting task of implementing Reach that lies ahead, industry is still able to smile at the predicament it finds itself in. “If you’re over 40 and in the chemical industry and you’re working on Reach, then you’ve got a job for life,” Helmes says.


The EU’s Reach program is already accepted by many chemical manufacturers as something that has to be worked with rather than against. The U.S. chemicals industry does not appear to be in the mood, however, to accept the notion that a Reach-style regulation may be introduced by president Obama’s administration in the U.S.

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