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REACH review calls for small business fee cut8th of February 2013
The European Commission's review of the REACH chemical regulation earlier this week has called for a cut in charges to small businesses.
Adopted in 2006 the REACH regulation is the largest ever chemical control programme and requires chemical manufacturers to register 30,000 out of the 100,000 or so substances currently on the market and submit them for safety screening and subsequent authorisation.
Those that are considered to pose an unacceptable threat to human health or the environment may be phased out and eventually replaced.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published a list of dozens of chemicals considered of very high concern to human health or the environment.
The regulation had been due for a review in 2012 - which has only now been completed - setting the stage for a lobbying offensive by industry groups that say the rules hurt competitiveness and consumer and health organisations that want stronger measures.
The Commission also sees a need to reduce the impact of REACH on SMEs. A spokesman said: "It has been costly for them to fully implement REACH and the review will highlight the need to address this issue."
One of the recommendations is that ECHA will provide more specific guidance on cost-sharing in Substance Information Sharing Exchange Fora, which are considered a major problem for SMEs.
The fee regulation will also be revised in order to lower costs for SMEs.
On the whole however, REACH is considered to be essentially working well and will not be changed by the review.