European Commission orders study of polymers for possible REACH registration requirements.

Polymers are currently exempt from REACH registration requirements, but recent actions taken by the European Commission (EC or the Commission) suggest that polymers might face a heavier regulatory burden in the future. Today, ChemicalWatch reported that the Commission has awarded a contract to study whether and how polymers should be subject to REACH registration requirements. The contract was awarded to Bio-Intelligence, a consultancy, in December 2013, and the study is expected to be completed by October 2014.

Article 138(2) of REACH empowers the Commission to present legislative proposals for selecting polymers for registration after finding a practicable solution and publishing a report on the matter. This report must cover risks posed by polymers in comparison with other substances; and the need, if any, to register certain types of polymers, taking into account factors including competitiveness and innovation as well as human health and the environment.

Last year’s REACH Review concluded that there was insufficient information to conclude whether certain types of polymers should be registered. In 2012, the consultancy RPA conducted another study for the EC on registration requirements for polymers. Taken together, the studies may for the basis for a new proposal on registering certain polymers.