100 days until the REACH-deadline!
Now the final REACH deadline is upon us, the questionnaires and information request are increasing the last few months of 2017 and will continue in 2018.
All stakeholders that have anything to do with REACH are under pressure to comply in time for the 31 May 2018 deadline. We, as a distributor, do receive many different questionnaires with a wide variety of quality of questions being asked.
To service our clients the best way we can we are trying to inform them as fast and complete as possible, with a huge administrative burden as a result.
REACH legislation states that the SDS is the communication tool for distributing the REACH compliance (page 22). This is great in theory, but not very practical. Because it does not include:
- Exempt status and the reason why
- Polymers and the registration status of their monomers
- Mixtures that have a range of their ingredients
- Products that don't require a SDS (non-hazardous material)
If you have a substance like Ethylene it is "easy", you receive a SDS with REACH number in section 1., you store it somewhere safe and you are compliant.
The challenge starts if you import a polymer that has 3 monomers from outside the EU.Â Then what..?
Well, you start sending questionnaires to you supplier. With questions like:
- Are all the applicable substances (ingredients) of the products you supply to us preregistered or registered within your supply chain?
- Does any of the products you supply to us contain Substances (ingredients) of Very High Concern (SVHC) in concentration greater than 0,1% (w/w)?
And then you wait... and let your customer wait.., send a reminder and wait a little longer.
Finally you receive the information (or you don't!) but what does that information tell you? It is not a legally binding document, the supplier can state anything they like. It becomes a trust issue, how much trust can you place in the declaration of your supplier? With most suppliers you do business for years, so it should be fine, right? But will that hold up in an inevitable audit? Some suppliers state that they intend to register before the deadline, but if the supplier decides otherwise there are no legal ways to hold them to that intention.
As an importer you have to check REACH information of your supplier, but to what extent? What means does an importer have to really check the REACH information?
We have created a database with every product we import (via Only Representatives) and tried to find out the REACH status of every product. It took some progressive insight of which data was useful for our REACH database, but it includes every product we imported the last 5 years.
When you are a distributor, like us, you probably have over 1000 substances in your portfolio. After sending out questionnaires to suppliers with an unknown REACH status we have put all data in the Excel list and try to filter out the missing information.
After the gaps where known we had to come up with alternatives for the substances that wouldn't be registered. Many of our product end up in formulations, so close cooperation with our customers was needed. The sampling and testing procedures usually takes a lot of time, but we started early enough and together with our customers we managed to shave off a lot of time. This has been a joint effort and in most cases very successful.
We are confident to say De Monchy is REACH complaint. But due to the legal status of the data we obtained from our suppliers we can only be sure after the deadline of 31-05-2018.