REACH REGULATION: What’s new about polymers


Chemsafe, Colleretto Giacosa (TO), Italy

People and the environment are widely exposed to polymers, the main constituents of plastics, as these chemicals continue to build up in terrestrial and ocean ecosystems and production is predicted to continue increasing, resulting in emissions to our waterways of up to 53 million metric tons (Mt) per year by 2030. Apart from plastics, polymeric substances are present in many other materials, products and applications, including but not limited to silicones, coatings, paints, detergents, household and personal care products, agricultural fertilizers and wastewater treatment, often leading to direct releases into the environment. Although polymers are manufactured and used in Europe in extremely high quantities (e.g. plastic production in Europe has been around 60 million tonnes per year over the last years as said in the PlasticsEurope report, 2020, not enough is known about their identity, uses, physical, chemical, and hazardous properties, particularly because polymers have so far been exempt from registration under the European chemicals regulations REACH. To finally initiate the polymer registration process, the European Commission (EC) devel ...