New regulation set to come into force to govern the importation of chemicals

Steven Wiseglass

Businesses which ignore an EU rule that comes into force this week could be put at risk and a host of everyday products could disappear from sale, insolvency practitioner Steven Wiseglass has warned.

Wiseglass, a director at Greater Manchester firm Inquesta, said the REACH regulation governing the manufacture and importation of chemicals in the EU could have huge consequences.

REACH stands for Regulation, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals and originally came into force on June 1 2007. The regulation requires that the properties of every chemical or substance over one tonne which is sold in the EU are put into a dossier and registered.

The intention has been to shift responsibility from public authorities to industry in terms of assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals and giving appropriate safety information to their users.

REACH is thought to encompass over 100,000 chemicals or substances and aims to improve human health and the environment by improving risk management and ensuring that those of major concern are property controlled or replaced.

After a phased implementation, Thursday May 31 marks the final REACH registration deadline, covering the lowest band of 1-100 tonnes. It could cost up to 50,000 euros to register a chemical or substance in this bracket.

Mr Wiseglass warned a failure to register will mean that the chemical or substance cannot be sold in the EU, he said: “Put simply, if chemicals or substances aren’t registered, they can’t be sold in the EU. This could have a huge impact on businesses as well as consumers.

“In addition to manufacturers and importers, businesses such as retailers and distributors could be affected.

“If we see products disappear from the market, it could disrupt the day-to-day operations and indeed jeopardise the viability of some businesses.

“Yet there is a simple fix, which is to register. It’s vital that this is done to ensure the continuity of supply and sales.”