Munich - The European legislation on chemicals is permanently evolving. With effect from 1 March 2014, a new EU Regulation will regulate the import and export of certain hazardous chemicals that are subject to strict restrictions in the EU. The export of these chemicals will be subject to a notification procedure, i.e. the destination country must be informed in advance of the intention to import a hazardous chemical. The new regulation applies to importers and exporters of chemicals governed by regulatory actions that ban or restrict their use. The responsible EU authority is the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki.
The PIC (Prior Informed Consent) Regulation applies to substances such as herbicides and pesticides, but also industrial chemicals. The regulation includes a detailed list of the substances concerned. "Exporters of substances listed in Annex I to the regulation must inform the designated authority in the importing country prior to the first export", says Rupert Scherer, PIC expert at TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH. The notification must include the following data: information on the required precautions, a summary of physico-chemical, toxicological and ecotoxicological properties and the uses of the substance in the European Union.
The exporter must first inform the designated national authority. The authority validates the notification and passes it on to ECHA. ECHA then sends the notification to the non-EU designated national authority in the importing country. ECHA also maintains a database of all notifications that can be accessed by national authorities. Export control rests with the national customs authorities.
"The PIC regulation is another building block in the EU chemicals policy to improve safety in the handling of chemicals", explains Rupert Scherer. "Of course, there are links to the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) and the REACH and the CLP regulations." For example, the data used in the registration of the substance can be used for the export notification of industrial chemicals. A safety data sheet in conformity with the REACH regulation must be enclosed with the export. One of the declared objectives of the PIC regulation is to ensure that all exports are correctly classified and identified in accordance with the CLP regulation.
Note: "PIC" stands for Prior Informed Consent, which means that after having been informed by ECHA the countries that participate in the procedure will decide whether they give their explicit consent to an import or not.