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May 25, 2020
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Health & Environment: Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals

Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and establishment of the European Chemicals Agency aims to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment. To do so it promotes alternative methods for assessment of hazards of substances, as well as the free circulation of substances on the internal market, while simultaneously enhancing competitiveness and innovation.

The efficient functioning of the internal market for substances can be achieved only if the respective requirements do not differ significantly from Member State to Member State. In this regard, a high level of human health and environmental protection should be ensured, with the goal of achieving sustainable development. This legislation should be applied in a non-discriminatory manner whether substances are traded on the internal market or internationally in accordance with the Community's international commitments.

REACH lays down provisions on substances and preparations within the meaning of Article 3 thereof. These provisions shall apply to the manufacture, placing on the market or use of such substances on their own, in preparations or in articles and to the placing on the market of preparations. REACH is based on the principle that it is for manufacturers, importers and downstream users to ensure that they manufacture, place on the market or use such substances that do not adversely affect human health or the environment. REACH is underpinned by the precautionary principle.

Importantly, as regards the interpretation and application of REACH, waste as defined in Directive 2006/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council is not a substance, preparation or article within the meaning of Article 3 of REACH.

Key definitions for the purposes of REACH:

Substance: means a chemical element and its compounds in the natural state or obtained by any manufacturing process, including any additive necessary to preserve its stability and any impurity deriving from the process used, but excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition;

Manufacturing: means production or extraction of substances in the natural state;

Manufacturer: means any natural or legal person established within the Community who manufactures a substance within the Community;

Import: means the physical introduction into the customs territory of the Community;

Importer: means any natural or legal person established within the Community who is responsible for import;

Placing on the market: means supplying or making available, whether in return for payment or free of charge, to a third party. Import shall be deemed to be placing on the market;

Distributor: means any natural or legal person established within the Community, including a retailer, who only stores and places on the market a substance, on its own or in a preparation, for third parties;

Agency: means the European Chemicals Agency as established by this Regulation;

National Process

Moreover, Member States may exceptionally allow for exemptions from REACH in specific cases for certain substances, on their own, in a preparation or in an article; where necessary in the interests of defence.

In Cyprus the Department of Labour Inspection of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance is the competent authority of Cyprus for REACH and may grant an exemption according to REACH.

In order to request an exemption, an application should be submitted the Department of Labour Inspection. For the approval of the requested exemption the following procedure applies:

  • The Department of Labour Inspection may grant exemption/exemptions provided the chemicals involved are characterized as necessary in the interests of defence and admissible under Community law.
  • When exemptions are granted, sufficient protection of all employees who may come into contact with the relevant substance or its reaction products as well as environmental protection must be guaranteed. To be able to evaluate how this protection can be achieved the request for approval of exemption from REACH must include an exemption dossier.  This dossier should be based on the minimum Requirements identified in the ‘Framework for applying for a Defense Exemption from a Requirement of REACH’, as reflected in the EDA Code of Conduct on REACH Defence Exemptions adopted by EDA participating Member States in March 2015, and published on the website of EDA.
  • It remains at the discretion of the Department of Labour Inspection to decide whether further documents should be submitted along with the respective application.
  • The applicant should comply with the terms and conditions imposed when exemptions are granted.

Therefore, third parties such as importers to European Union and manufactures should consider, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence, during the procurement procedure, any need for request of defence exemptions. Moreover, suppliers will comply with the provisions of the national legislation regarding Occupational Health and Safety, the Chemical Substances legislation and the protection of the environment, throughout the substance/mixture or article life cycle, including disposal.

The EU continues to be a leading forerunner in promoting and implementing environment, climate and energy policies. However, it cannot undertake such tremendous task alone and, therefore, cooperation by all Member States, other countries and all relevant stakeholders is imperative. As the world’s largest single market, the EU can continue to set global standards. Ultimately, we must all work together in the best interest of current and future generations.

RELATED INSIGHTS FROM OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE GROUP

OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE GROUP

The Environmental Practice Group of our firm advises on a broad variety of local, EU and international environmental and natural resources matters, and supports our clients in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Given the background and focus of our founder in environmental and natural resources law, corporate responsibility and sustainability will always remain a priority for the firm. We are committed to respecting the economy, our community and the environment, in the interests of current and future generations.

Our ethics and integrity are vital to preserve our culture, initiatives and principles.

Please find below an outline of the services offered by our Environmental Practice Group.

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Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question or require any assistance in such matters.

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