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Dec. 15 - Chemical buyers and suppliers work Green from different angles (REACH)

Posted Date: 
Saturday, December 15, 2007

Not news, per se, but the article Chemical buyers and suppliers work Green from different angles has a section on how North American companies are impacted by the EU'S REACH regulation:

Clearly, the regulation that has had the largest impact on the global chemicals industry has been the European Union's REACH regulation, which went into effect in June. It requires all manufacturers and importers in Europe to register and to disclose the chemical substances in their products before they can be sold in the EU.

Shondra Garrigus, vice president of purchasing at Seattle-based chemicals distributor TRI, says in some ways the regulation has changed the way TRI does business.

"For example, although we have always considered our relationships with suppliers of the utmost importance, we find the maintenance of lasting, open relationships with our suppliers increasingly vital to the success of our business under REACH," she says. "When you have to identify the end-user and provide application information, there really isn't anything you can do to avoid being cut out of the business so now, more than ever, you need to thoroughly trust your suppliers as well as your customers."

Most chemical buyers and suppliers say REACH should not be thought of as a European regulation, because in today's global economy, a marketplace the size of the European Union cannot be avoided. So for the time being, REACH has set the bar for environmental regulation in the chemicals industry, as RoHS did for the electronics industry.

Garrigus believes "we are at least a few years away from enacting laws that regulate the U.S. chemical industry in the same way that REACH currently regulates the European chemical industry. However, any wise U.S. chemical company is going to start looking into these matters now in order to prepare themselves for that eventuality."

But while a U.S. standard may be on the horizon, there are some immediate concerns to buyers.

"Certain materials I used to buy have been discontinued due to government regulations and as a result we've had to reformulate some of our blends," says Jeff Marcella, corporate senior buyer at Canadian General Tower in Cambridge, Ont. Specifically, he says in April of this year, the State of California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment elected to list di-isodecyl phthalate as a hazardous substance. And because his company does business in California, Marcella has had to find a substitute material.

For the full article, click on the above link.

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