Do we have a say in REACH processes?
We do! There are various processes established under REACH of which public consultation is an integral part. Public consultations are organised by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) or the Member States to get feedback from all interested parties and collect the widest possible range of scientific information to support decision making. Here, we will outline a selection of these.
Identification of substances of very high concern (SVHC)
Any Member State of the EU, ECHA (upon request of the Commission), may propose the identification of a substance as an SVHC. Stakeholders -as well as the general public- may react to this proposal during a subsequent 45-day public consultation. If no comments are received during the public consultation that challenge the identification of the substance as SVHC, the substance is included directly in the “Candidate List of SVHCs for Authorisation”. Where new evidence has been submitted against the identification, the Member State Committee is employed to study all inputs and decide whether the substance is an SVHC.
Inclusion of substances in the Authorisation List
Under REACH, ECHA is required to assess the substances included in the “Candidate List”, and to recommend which ones should become subject to authorisation as a priority. Once the draft recommendation is published, ECHA launches a 90-day public consultation. The received feedback is taken into account both by ECHA in the finalisation of its recommendation and by The Member State Committee while preparing its opinion on the draft recommendation prior to submission to the European Commission.
Inclusion of substances in the Restriction List
Any Member State of the EU, ECHA (upon request of the Commission), may prepare a proposal to restrict the use of a substance when they are concerned that it poses an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. All interested parties are invited to submit comments on the proposal during a 6-month public consultation.
ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) takes the received comments into account when formulating its opinion on the restriction under consideration. The final opinion of RAC, as well as the draft opinion of the Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) are published on ECHA’s website. Anyone may submit comments on the SEAC draft opinion within 60 days from publication. The final opinions of RAC and SEAC along with relevant background documents are presented to the European Commission, which prepares a draft amendment of the list of restrictions. If the Council or the European Parliament do not oppose to the restriction, the Commission adopts it.