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After two decades immersed in chemical policy, Dick Sijm, who leads the REACH Bureau at the Dutch National Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM), is moving on. Before taking up his new post at the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, he talked to Chemical Watch’s managing editor, Emma Chynoweth, about the advances made, and what still needs to be done to ensure the safe use of chemicals.


Emma Chynoweth: Mr Sijm, you have been involved with EU chemical policy for 20 years, what’s been achieved in that time?


Dick Sijm: For the most part, making industry responsible for providing safety data and safe-use information on their substances has worked. Industry took up the responsibility and registered many chemicals under REACH and, as a result, there is a lot of information available now, also in the public domain.


Echa has done an excellent job communicating that information – especially with the recent introduction of ‘infocards’, ‘brief profiles’, in addition to the source data for all registered substances. This is not just for the EU, this has global value.


In addition, companies are avoiding chemicals when they are identified as substances of very high concern (SVHCs) and placed on the REACH candidate list. Stopping use of these substances is not in the legal text, it is something that the businesses take up – they simply want to avoid using them.



For more of the interview with Dick Sijm from the article, REACH- a never-ending story, visit the Chemical Watch link above. Please contact Nexreg for more information about REACH Compliance.