In a move that illustrates a continued political will to step up its enforcement powers, the European Chemicals Agency recently sent out REACH Article 36 letters to 46 companies that according to ECHA failed to correct their registration dossiers of intermediate substances. Under the EU REACH Regulation, intermediates are subject to less burdensome registration substances than regular substances. In its letters, ECHA requests registrants to provide information on the volumes of their substances covered by uses that ECHA considers are inconsistent with the REACH Regulation’s definition of “intermediate” or its strict conditions of use.
By requesting the information on volume of the substances, the letters intend to force registrants to update their registration dossiers. This can be done either by registering the substances in full, amending their reported uses or submitting the requested information on volume. Where the company provides the requested volume information, ECHA will start a compliance check against them for those volumes. The letters also warn that ECHA will invite national enforcement authorities to take follow up actions against those companies that fail to act in response to ECHA’s Article 36 letters.
Article 36 of the REACH Regulation empowers ECHA to request manufacturers, importers, downstream users and distributors of substances to provide it with all information showing their compliance with the REACH Regulation. By sending out letters based on Article 36 of the REACH Regulation ECHA continues to show its will to increase its enforcement action in cooperation with national enforcement agencies, thus no longer limiting itself to its “traditional tasks” under the REACH Regulation, such as compliance checks and dossier evaluations.