On Dec. 19, the European Chemicals Agency published the list of all chemicals that have been filed with the European Union’s REACH program, representing nearly 150,000 substances (“lines”) from 65,000 companies.
REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) is designed to register, evaluate and approve all chemicals made or imported in the EU at volumes greater than 1 metric ton per year — and restrict those that pose unacceptable health or environmental threats.
The list is available in .html or .csv format, and can be searched by chemical abstract number or chemical name. A quick perusal shows it includes various mineral and vegetable base oils, synthetics like polyalphaolefin and polyalkylene glycol, essential lube additives such as ZDDP, sulfur and phosphorus compounds, amines and others, and building blocks for grease like lithium hydroxide. But the sheer volume of the list makes it difficult to see what’s there — or worse, what’s missing.
Additionally, the list published Friday is not the last word. Choked by the huge number of preregistrations submitted — about 2.75 million in all — ECHA expects to be reviewing them well into the new year. A final list is promised for “a later date” and will probably be shorter, as ECHA winnows out lines that don’t belong or are redundant.
Once the fully screened list rolls out, it’s expected that some chemical production in Europe will halt. After weighing REACH’s upcoming testing and compliance costs, some manufacturers no doubt will bow out of the market entirely, or shift production to other regions. Either way, chemical prices and supply chains are sure to be affected.
The real question may be about which companies may not have pre-registered, either because they didnt understand the requirements or they misinterpreted the requirements, Rich Kraska of Kraska Consultants in Bonita, Fla., told Lube Report. Whats really going to be interesting will be to hear stories in the next few months – where maybe someones exports got blocked because they couldnt produce the documentation, because they either didnt pre-register or didnt pre-register correctly.
To download the list of preregistered substances, or read more about REACH, go to http://apps.echa.europa.eu/preregistered/pre-registered-sub.aspx.
George Gill contributed to this article.