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REACH: The EU's new chemical regulations

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals) is the EU's new set of rules dealing with registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) has the national regulatory authority for the REACH area in Norway.

 The Norwegian REACH regulations took effect on 30 May 2008. The REACH rules became effective throughout the EEA area on 1 June 2008.  The regulations also apply to the petroleum activities, both on the Norwegian continental shelf and at the land facilities.  The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) carries out supervision of relevant parts of the REACH regime within its sphere of authority.

The new chemical regulations will ensure a stronger management of chemicals in Europe.  Norway is a part of REACH through the EEA agreement.  REACH will replace parts of the Norwegian chemical regulations, and will have an impact on large segments of business and industry - from major chemical industry to small enterprises that manufacture, produce, import, use or distribute chemicals or products.

Greater responsibility
The regulations place greater responsibility for chemicals on industry, including safety measures and information to all parts of the supply chain.  Manufacturers, producers and importers are types of enterprises that will have the most comprehensive duties under REACH.   A new obligated party has been introduced, called the downstream user.  Downstream users are enterprises that use chemicals.  This does not just apply to large chemical companies, but also workshops and other small industry that use chemicals, such as glue and paint.  These companies, as well as distributors, will also have obligations under REACH.

 When REACH entered into force, the regulations relating to preparation and distribution of HSE datasheets for hazardous chemicals was cancelled and replaced by similar provisions in REACH.  HSE data sheets changed their name to safety data sheets.  A safety data sheet is an accompanying document that contains information regarding the hazardous properties of chemicals and recommended protective measures.  Parties that manufacture, import or deliver chemicals are obliged to include safety data sheets the first time they deliver a chemical, and subsequently in connection with changes to the data sheet.

Pre-registration deadline
Enrolment/pre-registration of chemical substances under REACH will take place from 1 June through 1 December 2008.  Enterprises that manufacture, produce and import pure chemical substances, substances in mixtures/compounds or substances in products (where the substances are intended to be released) must ensure that the substances are pre-registered by the deadline.  It is extremely important that Norwegian manufacturers and importers pre-register by the deadline.  The transition periods for the individual substances do not apply until the substances are pre-registered.

Contacts in the PSA:
Linda Halvorsen
E-mail: linda.halvorsen@ptil.no

Sigvart Zachariassen
E-mail: Sigvart.Zachariassen@ptil.no