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Applications for authorisation under REACH and the challenges ahead


European Chemicals Agency, Annankatu 18, P.O. Box 400, FI-00120 Helsinki, Finland


The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will begin to receive the first applications for authorisation in May, thus kicking off the last of the REACH processes. The article presents the actions taken by ECHA over the last two years in clarifying the authorisation process and demystifying any misconceptions. Although, it is too early to assess the impact of authorisation on industry, the Agency stresses that through extensive communication and open interaction with all stakeholders it is possible to ensure that the long-term aim of the REACH Regulation to progressively replace SVHCs with suitable alternatives whilst ensuring the competitiveness of the European industry will be achieved without introducing unwanted disruptions to the functioning of the internal market.

Under the REACH Regulation, a Member State, or the European Chemicals Agency, on request of the European Commission, may propose a substance to be identified as a substance of very high concern (SVHC). Following the identification as an SVHC, a substance may be included in the Authorisation List (Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation) and become subject to authorisation. If an SVHC is placed on the Authorisation List companies may send an application to ECHA requesting the authorisation for specified uses. The aim of Authorisation under the REACH Regulation is to ensure the good functioning of the internal market while assuring that the risks from SVHCs are properly controlled and that these substances are progressively replaced by suitable alternatives where these are economically and technically viable. 

The Authorisation procedure is described in Title VII of the REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006. Substances on the Authorisation List cannot be placed on the market or used after the “sunset date”, which is set on a case-by-case basis for each substance in the Authorisation List. Unless specific exceptions apply, these substances may only be placed on the market if an ...