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December 1, 2020
Let’s Talk About Europe – All Things Chemical Podcast Features ECHA and Brexit

With the fast-approaching end of the transition period between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), the Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) podcast All Things Chemical™ has released two episodes discussing the many changes this transition will bring about for those in the chemical industry.
 
What’s Going on with the Brexit Transition Period? — A Conversation with Jane S. Vergnes, Ph.D.

Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, B&C, and President of The Acta Group (Acta®), and Jane S. Vergnes, Ph.D., DABT®, Director of Toxicology, B&C, and Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Acta, recently dedicated an hour to all things Brexit and its effect on chemical industry stakeholders.  Dr. Vergnes leads Acta’s UK and Brussels offices and has been deeply engaged in EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and the impact of Brexit on Acta’s EU, UK, and U.S. clients.  At the end of this year, REACH regulation will no longer apply to chemicals that require registration in the UK, with an amended regulation known as UK REACH coming into effect.

Dr. Vergnes shares with listeners that in-progress chemical registrations under REACH are in limbo because UK entities will cease having legal status in the EU on January 1, 2021.  The only registrations that could go forward are those completed before the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.  For a UK entity, the best path forward has been to appoint an Only Representative (OR) or to use one of their affiliates that remains within the 27 EU countries to process the registration under REACH.  This process applies only to chemical registration in the EU, and there is currently no agreement between the EU and UK to share REACH registration data that would allow chemicals registered under REACH to be grandfathered into UK REACH.

In addition to a thorough exploration of the transition period and the launch of UK REACH, Ms. Bergeson and Dr. Vergnes cover new obligations issued recently of which EU REACH registrants must be aware.  These include how the transition relates to biocides and plant protection products and what to expect at the end of the year.  Brexit has invited no small amount of uncertainty and anxiety for chemical stakeholders, especially against the backdrop of an already uncertain world.  This episode of All Things Chemical provides comforting clarity and useful thoughts on what to do as the transition period comes to an end.
 
Let’s Talk About Europe – A Conversation with Bjorn Hansen, Executive Director of ECHA

Bjorn Hansen, Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Lynn L. Bergeson, and Jane S. Vergnes, Ph.D., DABT® sat down to discuss the imminent end of the Brexit transition period and the very recent issuance of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability towards a Toxic-Free Environment.  As Executive Director of the regulatory agency charged with managing the scientific, technical, and administrative aspects of chemical management programs in the EU, Mr. Hansen leads approximately 600 employees, many of whom are located in Helsinki, where ECHA’s offices are located.

In the podcast, Mr. Hansen states that in order to meet climate neutrality goals over the next 30 years, the chemical industry, as one of the most energy-consuming industries, must develop new chemicals and processes.  It will be important to follow regulatory changes as REACH and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) will play major roles in the development of these new chemicals.  The participants also discuss what chemical innovators need to know regarding sustainable design at each point in a chemical product’s life cycle, incentives for circular design in the European regulatory systems, lessons learned in the authorization process under REACH, expected updates to the Biocides Directive, and expectations regarding the January 1, 2021, Brexit effective date.

Regarding data sharing after Brexit, Mr. Hansen states that data held by ECHA related to substances registered in the EU under REACH cannot be shared: “When a company submits information under one law, it's only allowed to be used under that law, unless explicitly told otherwise.  And therefore, REACH data that we hold can only be used for implementing REACH. […] So that's also why we're not able to share the data with the US or with anybody else, simply because they don't implement REACH. REACH is the European law overseen by the European Court of Auditors, and that's the system within which the data can be used. And therefore, as long as the UK do not implement the European REACH, we, at least as an agency, cannot share that data. […] They have to talk to their industry to get their data.”

The 45-minute podcast is a valuable resource for companies operating in Europe and the UK.
 
These interviews and many more are available from the All Things Chemical™ podcast, and they can be accessed at B&C’s website, www.lawbc.com/podcasts, or anywhere podcasts are available.  


 
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