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Electronics Production | October 09, 2008

How REACH affects U.S. companies

As hundreds of companies located in the U.S. produce or import numerous chemicals that are now designated as dangerous by the European Union, business can be affected severely by these new regulations. These chemicals are being produced in the U.S. in large amounts and at many different sites in 37 states, reports the edf.
In 2007, the European Union adopted its new chemicals regulation — Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) — under which companies must register all chemicals they place on the EU market in annual amounts above one metric ton. Under the new regulation, companies are required to identify so-called "substances of very high concern" (SVHCs). REACH's intent is ultimately to allow use of such SVHCs only when each use has been specifically authorised.

Dangerous chemicals list SIN will have ripple effect in U.S.
The edf organisation now has published a report 'Across the Pond' that examines the extent to which these SVHCs are produced in or imported into the U.S. and by which companies, in which states, and in what amounts. The analysis concludes that:
- Dangerous chemicals (SVHCs) are produced or imported in 37 states as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, at as many as 78 sites per state.
- At least 85 SVHCs are produced and imported annually in amounts of one million or more pounds, and at least 14 exceed one billion pounds annually in the U.S.
- Only about a third of such chemicals have been tested under the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
- Only two of these SVHCs — asbestos and hexavalent chromium — have been subjected to any regulation in the U.S., and even then only for very narrow uses of these dangerous substances.

Taken together, edf's findings suggest that REACH's designation of SVHCs can be expected to have a major impact on chemical production and use in the U.S. and on the companies that make, export or import chemicals.

The edf report 'Across the Pond' can be downloaded here.

Image Source: RCS

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