Echa has confirmed that around 160 REACH substance registrations are still pending due to ongoing data disputes. These follow the third and final registration deadline which was on 31 May.
The agency said most of the pending registrations belong to a group of similar substances. However, the agency said it could not give out specific information on the substances and companies involved in the disputes.
In some cases, Echa has given the potential registrant permission to refer to the requested data which is owned by another organisation. However, they have not yet submitted the registration dossier as companies have up to 10 months following the agency’s decision.
There are also some dispute cases still under appeal. These cannot be finalised until Echa’s Board of Appeal (BoA) makes a decision.
"Most of the remaining cases will be resolved in the coming weeks, and we expect [more] to be withdrawn as companies come to a mutual agreement," the agency told Chemical Watch.
The number of disputes for the 2018 deadline is much higher than for the previous ones. The total number of cases submitted before 2016, including both registration deadlines, was less than 60. Since January 2016, the agency has received 290.
For the 2013 registration deadline, Echa received nine data sharing dispute claims.
REACH requires registrants and potential registrants to make "every effort to ensure that the costs of sharing the information required for registration are determined in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory way".
However, companies may fail to come to an agreement on the data sharing conditions. This could happen when deciding who will be responsible for carrying out a necessary study or the costs of sharing existing information. The agency can then step in to make an "informed and balanced" assessment of such efforts.
Speaking at a conference on European and international chemicals management last week, Echa’s head of risk management implementation, Matti Vainio, said that following the 31 August completeness check deadline, non-confidential data of 99.7% of all completed registrations had been published on Echa’s website.
During his presentation at the conference in Vienna, he added that since the May deadline, Echa has received around 2,000 registrations.
Some of these could be from companies that missed the deadline, the agency told Chemical Watch. Others, however, could be new market entrants.
"We are, unfortunately, unable to see, through our submission process, if a registrant has missed the deadline or are, for example, just entering the market and registering as they should."
However, this will become clearer in 2019 when the agency receives the results of an EU-wide enforcement project, where "a whole army of inspectors" will check compliance with REACH registration obligations and dossier updates.
Echa also stressed that the deadlines are not the end of REACH registrations. "New companies enter the market all the time and have to register before that and so registrations continue in this way."
By the deadline, Echa received 33,363 registration dossiers for 11,114 substances manufactured or imported in quantities of between 1 to 100 tonnes/year.
As of early September, almost 850 REACH dossiers submitted to Echa by the 31 May had yet to be granted registration numbers.