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Info on 8,000 chemicals available on REACH database
Apr '13
Mike Rasenberg
Mike Rasenberg
The REACH Regulation aims to improve understanding on the chemicals used in Europe by making information available on their impact and safe use.

So far, the REACH database contains information on more than 8,000 chemicals on the EU market from over 33 000 registration dossiers. The amount of data has grown enormously compared to the past. How is ECHA making the best use of this information?

It has been said that prior to REACH, for over 85% of the chemicals produced in high volumes basic information was unavailable. The introduction of REACH has made a huge improvement: there is now a lot of information available.

"To have this data is the first great step of REACH," says Mike Rasenberg, ECHA's Head of Unit for Computational Assessment.

"However, this also means that we have to change the way we work in ECHA. In the past, we were looking at chemicals one by one, now we have the challenge to make best use of all the information that we have. This is what we are now working on."

ECHA want to use the data in the most efficient way possible. "The fact that the REACH registration process is automated is one example. IT screening of dossiers and targeting areas of concern for compliance checks are another," Mr Rasenberg says.

Putting our effort where it matters most

ECHA is using IT tools more and more to analyse the information it receives in registrations or C&L notifications. "With IT screening, we are trying to spot where there are potential problems, inform registrants of them and support them in making improvements. It also helps us to make sure that we use our resources in the right way; that we use the regulatory and other measures, such as informal advice, in a cost-efficient mix," Mr Rasenberg points out.

A recent example of IT screening is intermediate registrations. ECHA screened all 5 500 intermediate registrations and found inconsistencies in nearly 2 400 dossiers. It wrote to 574 registrants and invited them to improve the information. "We are pushing registrants to make sure that what they put in the dossier makes sense.

"With intermediates, many had made an administrative mistake, which was easy to fix," Mr Rasenberg says, and continues, "We have now received over 2 000 dossier updates and are left with less than 300 cases where the registrant did not act. We are now concentrating on those."

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