IHS Chemical Week


Reach: How to Get your SIEF Moving

10:31 AM MDT | June 1, 2009 | By LISA ALLEN

If life wasn’t difficult enough for many companies given the sticky economic climate, many of those who need to register substances under the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (Reach) program are also finding their Reach pre-SIEFs (not even their fully-fledged SIEFs!) well and truly stuck.


Granted, the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA (Helsinki), provided us with Reach-IT, the web portal used to submit those 2.7 million pre-registrations last year and to find the contact details of other organisations with interest in the same substance. But for a long time they left us to our own devices when it comes to doing the business of Reach.  Reach-IT is open for dossier submission but the chemical industry itself needs to work out how to get from being in the pre-SIEF to submitting dossiers that will be accepted by ECHA.  Quite a task ahead.


I think it’s a good thing that Reach's regulator is leaving the industry to sort itself out when it comes to doing the work required for registration.  After all, that’s what it asked for when the Reach regulation was being prepared. The chemical industry has years of positive experience in running projects and meeting deadlines, good relationships and networks to rely on that have been built up over years of collaboration, and innovative ways of working to get the job done the best way possible for industry.


Despite this freedom to choose the best way forward, one of the most common questions I’m getting asked at the moment by ReachReady's Gold subscribers is how to get things moving in the (pre-)SIEFs, and in time to meet their registration deadlines. So many people are keen to get on with their Reach work, especially if they need to register before 1 December 2010, but getting off the starting blocks can often be the hardest step.


While at the 2nd Stakeholder Day in Helsinki on 27 May I was pleased to see a strong focus on getting SIEFs moving and supporting Lead Registrants. At the event, ECHA launched their “The clock is ticking – form your SIEFs now” campaign to encourage all potential registrants to kick-start their SIEF activities before it is too late. And in April, ECHA published their top tips for “getting started in SIEFs.” It wasn’t anything new, but it consolidated and reinforced what we’ve been saying to people all along! So, while it’s not up to ECHA or the Competent Authorities to tell industry what to do, I’m glad ECHA has spoken out – we now know they recognise the plight of so many companies.


Written hints and tips can be helpful to get people thinking, but they probably won’t be the answer to all the SIEFs’ teething problems.  And although ECHA’s “The clock is ticking” campaign really does raise the profile of the importance of getting things moving now, I still feel some companies might need some practical support and advice. 

With a bit of effort now to get the SIEFs moving in the right direction, those looming registration deadlines needn’t be so daunting.

ReachReady is running a workshop in the U.K. on 30 June specifically to help companies whose SIEFs aren’t progressing as well as they’d like.

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