REACH Legislation and Its Impact on the Retreading Industry

REACH stands for the “Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals Regulations” and is new Europe-wide legislation aimed at ensuring that chemicals are properly tested before going on the market. The legislation, which came into force on June 1st this year, is based on the belief that industry itself should be responsible for ensuring that the chemicals it manufactures and puts on the market in the EU do not adversely affect the health of those workers exposed to them through their employment, the public who come in contact with them as users, or the environment.

REACH aims also to simplify the control of chemicals in the European market place and replaces a large number of other directives with a single system of registration, evaluation and authorisation. Under REACH legislation all chemicals will have to be registered in 3 phases, according to the quantities manufactured or imported as follows:

– Those chemicals of more than 1,000 tonnes a year, or those of highest concern, have to be registered in the first 3 years

– Substances of between 100 and 1,000 tonnes a year need to be registered in the first 6 years

– All substances of 1 tonne or above must be registered in the first 11 years of REACH

The new Regulation is one of the largest and most complex pieces of legislation ever attempted by the European Union and therefore it is no surprise that it is something that has taken up the attention of BIPAVER and the various national retreading associations within the EC, as opinions differ on how the legislation affects various sectors of the tyre industry.

As far as the retreading industry is concerned the current advice being offered by the RMA in the UK is as follows:

Retreaders in general are considered to be “downstream users” of chemicals and are therefore not required to register under REACH. However, retreaders will need to ensure that their suppliers are aware of REACH and that they comply with its requirements.

The RMA is also advising retreaders to obtain a statement confirming that suppliers know the requirements of REACH, that they are following them and also that pre-registration has taken place or is going to take place for the chemical in question.

One area where retreaders may need to be careful though, is if they are importing goods from outside the EC. Under the new legislation the company responsible for the registration of products is the “importer” – the “importer” being the first company that imports into the EC.

Therefore in the case of non-European companies marketing tread rubber through subsidiaries/agents in Europe – like Vipal, Galgo, Goodway, Hules Banda etc. – it would be their European subsidiary who is responsible for registration. In this case the retreader would not need to register.

This might, however, be an issue for retreaders importing directly from tread rubber manufacturers outside Europe. In this case, if the supplier does not have a nominated representative in Europe, the retreader may find that he needs to register if he imports more than a tonne. It would therefore makes sense for retreaders who are importing rubber and chemicals from outside Europe, to check whether the supplier has a nominated representative in Europe and, if so, whether that company has pre-registered.

Still not sure? Don’t Panic!

If you need to find out more to decide whether or not a substance you are manufacturing or importing may be exempt from REACH then further help is available. The UK REACH Competent Authority website gives you more information on the areas covered in this leaflet, and on REACH in general. It can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/reach . If you wish to discuss specific exemptions then you can contact the UK CA helpdesk on 0845 408 9575 or email: ukreachca@hse.gsi.gov.uk.

Visit the European Chemicals Agency website for more detailed information, and to access a useful tool called Navigator which will help you work out where your chemicals fall within REACH. This can be found at: http://reach.jrc.it/navigator_en.htm

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