ECHA Releases Fourth Annual Report of Integrated Regulatory Strategy

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has released the fourth annual report from its Integrated Regulatory Strategy, entitled “Faster Action on Groups of Harmful Chemicals”. This report illustrates the progress that has been achieved in improving substance of concern regulatory action identification.

Integrated Regulatory Strategy

The ECHA developed its Integrated Regulatory Strategy to facilitate achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with regard to chemical substances. Among other things, it provides a framework geared toward the identification of groups of substances of concern and regulatory actions related to them. The Agency has outlined several aims of its Integrated Regulatory Strategy:

  • “To efficiently select substances or groups of substances that raise potential concern. The information needed to assess their safety is generated so that any remaining concerns can be addressed through the most suitable regulatory risk management measures.”
  • “To ensure appropriate and timely intervention by all actors – ECHA, Member States, the European Commission and industry.”
  • “To provide confidence among stakeholders that registrants meet REACH information requirements, promoting improved communication on safe use in the supply chain.”

Progress in Accelerating the Rate of Identifying Regulatory Actions for Substances of Concern

The rate at which regulatory needs assessments are conducted for chemical substances has shown significant increase. Assessments of more than 1,900 substances were finalized in 2021 (approximately 1,650 of which are registered under REACH). This represents an increase of approximately 30% over the number finalized during the previous year.

With the group assessments conducted in 2021, approximately 650 chemical substances were identified as possible candidates for additional EU regulatory risk management. Of these, almost 300 were identified as candidates for immediate action. An increased rate of identification of new possible substances of concern was largely the result of employing a group assessment approach.

More detailed information on the progress made in terms of regulatory action identification may be found by reviewing the most recent Integrated Regulatory Strategy report.

Principal Recommendations

The ECHA notes several key recommendations in its fourth Integrated Regulatory Strategy report:

  • Utilize lessons learned to optimize the Integrated Regulatory Strategy and to help ensure that its goal of assessing all substances not yet addressed by the end of 2027 is achieved
  • Continue work on chemical substances requiring further regulatory action
  • Increase ECHA and Member States collaboration to improve prioritization efforts
  • Identify restriction candidates by utilizing the Restrictions Roadmap
  • Improve transparency of information by continuing to publish regulatory needs assessments
  • Encourage proactive updating of registrations, as this is vital for regulatory needs assessment

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