Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ECHA Forces Private Company to Close its REACH Chemicals Database

As part of its REACH chemical regulation program, the European Chemicals Agecny (ECHA) has created a database portal called REACH-IT by which companies are required to submit their REACH data dossiers and conduct other business with ECHA online.  ECHA has now forced one company, Eugachem, to stop selling information it had inappropriately obtained on pre-registered chemicals.

The first step of REACH was for companies to "pre-register" their existing chemicals, i.e., inform ECHA via the REACH-IT system that they intended to register existing chemicals in Europe.  This pre-registration gave companies the benefit of a grace period during which they could stay on the market while they developed their data dossiers.  Any chemicals not pre-registered would be considered "new" chemicals, and companies had to provide the data dossiers to ECHA prior to going on the market.

According to ECHA, they first became aware in June 2009 that the company Eugachem was selling information on pre-registrations; information that they had obtained from another company that had pre-registered the entire EINECS list (the former list of all existing chemicals in Europe). The company was essentially sued in the German courts and ECHA "considered Eugachem’s use of this information as a breach of ECHA’s copyrights in the REACH-IT database and the other company’s transfer of this information to Eugachem as a breach of ECHA’s terms and conditions of use of REACH-IT."

As a result of court action:

Eugachem has now agreed to discontinue the service and to destroy all data on pre-registered substances in its possession. The company that transferred the data to Eugachem has agreed to use the data that has been or will be taken from the REACH-IT database only within the scope of the “Terms and conditions of use and services of REACH-IT”. It further agreed to no longer transfer such data to third parties, and to identify those pre-registrations which it actually needs for fulfilling its obligations under REACH. Its other pre-registrations will be deleted.

More information and a reminder by ECHA of the terms and conditions of use of REACH-IT can be found on the ECHA web site.

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