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Perspectives on REACH

chemists

On 19 June 2008 the SCI Republic of Ireland Regional Group held an informative talk on the different aspects and impacts of REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals). REACH is an EU-led initiative to test all chemical substances imported or manufactured in quantities of over one ton in the EU by 2018. The estimated cost of implementation is €5 billion. All chemicals were required to be pre-registered by December 2008 and fully registered and assessed by 2010, 2013 or 2018, depending on toxicity and quantity.

Dr Brendon Haniffy, director of Camida, a small chemical trading company, spoke first about REACH’s cost implications for testing. It is estimated that for full registration of a substance manufactured or imported in quantities over 1000t the cost could be anything from €250,000 to €500,000 each. It is estimated that in Hungary, 30% of all small to medium chemical manufacturers will go out of business within three years.

Professor Michael Hynes, lecturer in inorganic chemistry and analytical chemistry at the National University of Ireland in Galway, spoke of how scientists are concerned that the testing will lead to less focus on the discovery of new substances. With an estimate of 3% of all substances having to be withdrawn from market due to REACH, scientists will instead have to begin searching for substitutes for existing products. Dr Josie Guthrie, senior regulatory scientist for Henkel, Dublin, spoke about implementation from the perspective of a large organisation and of concerns of perceived unfairness. An organisation producing large quantities (1000t+) of a substance will have to register it’s products by December 2010. Smaller manufacturers need not register until 2013 or 2018, depending on chemical quantity. With the large organisations already having registered their substances by 2010, the smaller organisations will not have to test their substances. This means, by default, the larger manufacturer/ importer will incur the full cost of testing.

Prior to the event, the Group held its annual general meeting, where Dr David Birkett received a well-earned SCI Distinguished Service Award for his great work for the Group and SCI. As well as David the whole committee should be thanked for their fantastic hard work in putting on this event.

SCI Republic of Ireland Regional Group

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