REACH risks becoming too complex for SMEs

The CBA has expressed concern that the six REACH Implementation Projects (RIPs) risk making REACH too complex for SMEs.


The Chemical Business Association (CBA) has expressed concern that the six REACH Implementation Projects (RIPs) risk making REACH too complex for smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


“We have repeatedly pointed out that simplicity is the key to REACH compliance for SMEs with limited technical and financial resources – and SMEs account for more than 95% of the European chemical industry,” said CBA Director, Peter Newport. “It is becoming increasingly clear that this message is being lost within the RIPs which seem intent on overcomplicating the REACH regulations,” he added.


Others agree. Small volume producers and exporters with multiple products are likely to see REACH costs of more the $1 million’ (740,000 euro/£ 504,000) according to contract research firm the RCC.


REACH ‘may turn out to be a nightmare’ for smaller companies; the newly-created European Chemicals Agency ‘may be overwhelmed with (REACH) applications to the point where it can’t do its work properly’; and, ‘smaller companies are worried about many obligations to publish or communicate information and fear a loss of intellectual property’ according to German MEP, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff.


More than 50% of SMEs in Japan were unaware of REACH and its implications according to a recent survey of the chemical sector by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.


“From an SME’s perspective, the only way forward for REACH is to ‘keep it simple’ and minimise the bureaucracy and complexity. This does not imply a weakening of the new regulations – but it will improve their effectiveness. Applying simplified use and exposure categories, for example, would be a major step forward and would ease the compliance burden for SMEs,” said CBA’s Newport.