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FACTFILE: Implementing REACH from Annankatu
The EU’s Chemicals Agency (ECHA) started work in June of last year from offices on Annankatu, in the former premises of the Varma pension insurance company.
The Agency currently has 115 employees on the payroll, with two-thirds of them coming from outside Finland, from practically all the 27 EU member-states. Over the next two years, the staff numbers will rise to more than 400.
The task of the Chemicals Agency is to coordinate the implementation of the EU’s Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
After lengthy arm-wrestling, this entered into force at the beginning of June 2007 to improve the former legislative framework on chemicals in the Union.
REACH obligates the chemicals industry - manufacturers and importers - to register all chemicals produced within the EU or brought into the area in quantities greater than one tonne a year, in order better to manage the risks that chemicals may pose to the health and the environment.
Something like 30,000 chemicals are covered under the REACH regulations, and registration must be made by 2018.
ECHA oversees the process of registration, evaluation, authorisation, and restriction of chemical substances manufactured, imported, and used across the EU.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 21.1.2008