Staff Reporter

Legislation aims at improving protection of health, environment

Large number of chemical dyes used in textile manufacturing come under the purview

Covered all chemical substances whether manufactured, imported or used as intermediaries

KARUR: The European Union’s decision directing the exporters to furnish information on the properties of the chemical substances to allow for safe handling and utility of the material supplied is all set to exercise the minds of the textile exporters here in Karur and elsewhere. The new legislation styled “Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACh)” is aimed at improving protection of human health and environment through better identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances, pointed out P. Shanmuga Sundaram, Project Manager, TUV Rheinland, certifiers and compliance monitors for the legislation.

Speaking to The Hindu Mr. Shanmuga Sundaram observed that the REACh regulation was very wide in its scope and covered all substances whether manufactured, imported or used as intermediaries- chemical substances-such as base chemicals, specialty chemicals, metals and natural substances, if they were chemically modified. A large number of chemical dyes and other substances used in the textile manufacturing come under the purview of the REACh, noted Mr. Shanmuga Sundaram who was here for a discussion with the members of the Karur Textile Manufacturer Exporters’ Association.

Though the new legislation came into force on June 1, 2007 itself, the European Union importers and buyers have started pressing the REACh compliance factor of late. Some of the Karur-based exporters who received the mails were perplexed as to the exact demands of the legislation. That was because the Phase 1 of the REACh activity was pre-registration of chemicals and that process was completed on December 1, 2008. The queries came after the deadline for the pre-registration ended.

Pre-registration would provide the companies with more time to obtain and compile the information necessary to complete the registration process under the REACh, Mr. Shanmuga Sundaram said.

The pre-registration was important because from December 1, 2008 import of chemical substances and products with chemical substances would be allowed only if the chemical were to be properly pre-registered. If a company failed to pre-register, then it would become ineligible to export chemicals after December 1.

After pre-registration, the registration deadline would be extended to November 30, 2010, or May 31, 2013 or May 31, 2018 depending on the nature and properties of the chemical substance.

In total REACh would require registration of around 30,000 chemical substances over a period of 11 years, he added.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Helsinki, Finland, would do the registration. The Agency would act as the central point in REACh system and would manage the database necessary to operate the system and co-ordinate the in-depth evaluation of suspicious chemicals, Mr. Shanmuga Sundaram said.

The KTMEA members evinced keen interest in the aspects and regulations of REACh and understood the need to comply with the conditions for continued exports to the members of the European Union.

They have requested further material assistance and qualitative inputs for REACh compliance, according to the Deputy Director of Textiles Committee, V. Velmurugan, who was also present during the discussions.