• Around 550 substance dossiers submitted;
• Further improvement in practicability of REACH necessary;
• BASF reviews risk assessments worldwide under a voluntary commitment.
REACH stands for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals and represents a fundamental reorganization of chemical law in Europe. The second phase of registration for chemicals with a production volume between 100 and 1,000 metric tons per year ends on May 31. In this phase, BASF submitted around 550 substance dossiers to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) more than any other company. BASF also topped the list of companies in the registration process with around 680 substance dossiers in phase 1. By the end of the final transition period in the year 2018, BASF is expecting a total of approximately 3,500 registrations. 250 employees at BASF are engaged in the implementation of REACH, and the total costs for BASF by the year 2018 will be between €500 million and €550 million.
Less Bureaucracy, Improved Practicability
“Both the industry and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which was founded a few years ago, have to adapt to the new system. This has been a learning process which is not yet complete. There is still potential for improvements, especially in communication between the registrant and competent authorities both ECHA and the authorities in the EU member states,” says Dr. Karsten Müller, Head of the Chemical Regulations unit at BASF. “Experience gathered in the first two phases of registration should be used to further improve the practicability of REACH. In the third phase of registration which is now beginning, with a significantly higher number of substances to be registered, more small and medium-sized enterprises are going to have to convert to REACH many of them approaching this for the first time. Bureaucracy should be kept to the essential minimum for everyone involved.”
For example, the IT systems set up by ECHA for capturing the data are complex and subject to regular revisions or expansions. BASF has submitted several million data records to the electronic data capture system of ECHA to date. In the meantime, a safety datasheet that informs customers about the proper handling of the substance encompasses up to 140 pages because of the extended REACH requirements. In the past the maximum was 10 pages.
REACH applies to all substances currently produced in or imported to the EU. They are registered in three phases with data requirements depending on their production volume (substances above 1,000 metric tons per year; substances above 100 metric tons per year; substances above 1 metric ton per year). The implementation of REACH is not limited to registration. Following the registration process, the dossiers that are submitted have to be updated continuously. The risk assessments prepared by the industry are reviewed by ECHA and EU member states competent authorities. These evaluations can result in requests for additional data as well as restrictions or authorization processes. The REACH requirements have to be implemented in the production and business processes. This is intended to ensure the safe handling of chemical substances in Europe.
BASF Voluntarily Reviews Risk Assessments Worldwide
While REACH only applies in Europe, BASF has also set a goal to review all risk assessments worldwide by the year 2020 for substances and mixtures which BASF sells in quantities of more than one ton.
BASF (basf.com) is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of €72.1 billion in 2012 and more than 110,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN).