Chemicals are part of our everyday life and are contained in almost all products that we handle – from preservatives in personal care products and coatings on the inside of food packaging, to bromated flame retardants covering our IT and household appliances.
What challenges do manufacturers face?
Producing safe products – and providing documented proof that they’re safe to use– are the key challenges for all manufacturing industries. Beyond addressing general consumer safety, it means complying with the chemicals regulation on all markets where the products are to be sold. Considering the number of national regulations around the world, this can be quite a task. In addition, political awareness of protecting people and the environment from the effects of hazardous chemicals is high on the agenda in many countries.
So how should companies ensure compliance to regulations?
Regulatory compliance has become a requirement and a way to secure your market. The EU chemicals regulation, REACH, has set an entirely new standard for harmonised registration of chemicals and has sparked similar initiatives to strengthen chemicals legislation around the world.
Here are two smart tips you should follow to register your chemicals globally:
Tip 1: Create a core data set to ease your regulatory burden
An essential part of any chemicals regulation is the registration scheme, where authorities obtain and keep information on environmental and human health effects of the chemicals used and sold on their market.
Meeting data requirements for various registration schemes can be quite challenging as guidelines and data requirements differ around the world.
It is therefore vital for international manufacturers and suppliers to prepare a strategy for regulatory compliance to secure their markets in the most efficient way.
‘Our advice is to start by collecting the substance data of each chemical in your product portfolio. In other words, you should create a core data set of all the chemicals you supply.’
To do so, you must, as a minimum, collect information on:
- substance identity, such as the unique CAS number of the substance
- physical-chemical data of the substance
- toxicological and ecotoxicological data, that is, how the substance may impact human health and/or the environment
Tip 2: Compare data requirements for similarities
On the one hand, requirements for registration of chemical substances are increasing globally.
On the other hand, the trend is also towards more harmonised regulations and data requirements as various regulations become more uniform. An example is the data requirements for small tonnage bands (10 – 100 ton per year), which are quite similar in the EU, China and Korea.
‘Therefore, you should prepare a strategy for addressing the data requirements for the markets in your product portfolio. By creating an overview of similarities in data requirements, you will save both time and money.’
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Address the regulatory challenges today. Take the necessary provisions and avoid being overtaken by stricter regulation, or worse – by more forward-looking competitors.
Read more about the topic of product safety and environmental risk here.
About the author
- Head of Projects and Business Development, DHI Denmark – Jens has in-depth knowledge of global chemicals compliance. He has been responsible for registration, risk assessment and regulatory compliance of chemicals for more than 20 years. From 2004-2007, Jens was employed by the European Commission at the European Chemicals Bureau, where he coordinated the development of technical guidance and tools for the European chemicals regulation, REACH.