From November the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will make more information from registration dossiers, including the names of registrants, available on its website.
Until recently, ECHA has been reluctant to release the names of registrants, in part due to concerns voiced by the industry that the move could aid overseas competitors attempting to gain entry to the European market. In March 2011, ECHA decided against releasing the names and contact details of registrants.
In May 2011, ECHA came under legal pressure from environmental groups to make the information on registered chemicals fully public. Earlier this year, ECHA announced the disclosure of information on substance tonnage bands, one of the central demands of the organisations, and updated the IUCLID software to better facilitate the dissemination of substance information: see our previous article.
The announcement in July of the release of new material represents another step towards the full disclosure of safety data information. Disclosure by ECHA of information from the registration dossiers will be done within the framework of Article 119(2)d of REACH, which calls for the online publication of substances' Safety Data Sheet information, and Article 5 of the Aarhus Convention, obliging public authorities to actively disseminate environmental information in their possession. Information to be made available will include, for the first time, the name of the registrant (the manufacturer or importer) and the registration number of the substance, unless successfully claimed as confidential.
Other information to be made public in the coming disclosure includes new Safety Data Sheet Information on the PBT ('Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic') and vPvB ('very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative') assessments of substances. ECHA is requesting that registrants ensure the information is complete in time for publication.
From November onwards, ECHA will publish all Safety Data Sheet information that has not been claimed confidential. Companies wishing to request confidentiality on these items are required by ECHA to update their dossiers and justify their requests for confidential treatment. The deadline for the submission of confidentiality requests has been set for 31 October 2012.