More efficiency in the assessment of substances.

SK – 03/2024

In December 2023, the European Commission presented the "One substance, one assessment" reform package. This package of measures aims to reduce the complexity of evaluating chemicals and optimise processes. A data platform is also being set up. This is intended to facilitate access as well as the shared use and further utilisation of information on chemicals.

A new regulation is necessary because different EU agencies, scientific committees, expert groups or Commission departments currently carry out the assessment of chemicals in different areas, depending on the legislation. Following the reform, assessments must be well-coordinated, transparent and synchronised as far as possible. At the same time, the special features of the individual sectors must be taken into account. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will be assigned new tasks. 

In a statement, the DSV welcomed the European Commission's efforts to establish a standardised platform for chemicals and to reallocate existing and new tasks to the EU agencies. The new regulation can avoid duplication of work and achieve an efficient way of working in the area of chemicals assessment. In addition, the development of a standardised platform for chemicals renders it possible to make the data traceable, accessible, interoperable and reusable for interested parties.

Innovations require resources

The European Commission's legislative proposals required the involvement of appropriate experts and specialists with expertise in various fields. However, this cannot currently be guaranteed by ECHA as there is a lack of expertise in the field of electrical and electronic equipment, in particular. Additional personnel are therefore required for successful implementation. This is the only way ECHA can fulfil the new scientific and technical tasks of the reform package.

In addition to the issue of specialised personnel, the implementation of the changes over time must also be better addressed. On the one hand, there is a generous deadline of ten years for the provision of all relevant data via the common data platform until 2035. On the other, ECHA should be able to carry out assessments in the field of electrical and electronic equipment, medical devices and persistent organic pollutants by 2025 or 2026. As the data from the assessments are incorporated into the platform, the deadlines for the inclusion of the various scientific papers should be adjusted and staggered accordingly in a generous manner.

Access for statutory insurances 

The management of the data platform provides for the establishment of a steering committee made up of an equal number of five representatives each stemming from EU agencies and the European Commission. The DSV believes that advice, for example on the standard data formats and scientific vocabulary used, can best be provided by those who actually use the information on the data platform in practice. Consequently, the proportion of representatives from the agencies and thus, from the specialist area should predominate.

With the help of the common data platform, data on chemicals at EU level will be focused and consolidated in a centrally accessible IT infrastructure. Their use should also be permitted to scientific bodies such as the Permanent Senate Commission of the German Research Foundation for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area (MAK Commission) and statutory insurance companies in the same way as authorities.