Fuel Ethers and REACH

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About REACH

Dangerous substances under REACH

Registration of fuel ethers under REACH

GPS Safety Summaries

About REACH

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) is the European Community Regulation 1907/2006/EC on safe use of chemicals at all stages of the value chain. The regulation came into force on the 1st of July 2007, replacing many different EC regulations and directives.  The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment.
 
All companies must register the chemicals they produce in, or import into, the EU and submit a comprehensive set of relevant safety data. In order to ensure a smooth transition a series of deadlines have been set for registration based primarily on volume.

  • The first deadline was 30 November 2010 for materials produced or imported in volumes above 1,000 tonnes a year, and volumes above one tonne for substances of high concern. 
  • The second deadline is 31 May 2013 for substances produced and imported in volumes of greater than 100 tonnes.
  • The final deadline for registration is 31 May 2018 for substances produced or imported in volumes between one and 100 tonnes.

The registration documents are checked by a central European authority ECHA (European Chemicals Agency).  An information booklet  "REACH in Brief” has been issued by the European Commission for a better understanding of the legislation and its implementation.

Dangerous substances under REACH

For substances which are classified as dangerous, a risk assessment has to be prepared demonstrating the necessary risk management measures for safe handling.  The assessment is documented in the so called Chemical Safety Report (CSR).

An important element of REACH is the communication of the dangerous properties and the necessary risk management measures along the supply chain that are detailed within the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). For dangerous substances the MSDS contains an Annex of detailed exposure scenarios for the recommended uses and describes the operational conditions for safe use. Therefore the MSDS is a summary of the CSR.  It is the responsibility of the registrant to ensure that there is sufficient communication with customers relating to the risk assessment.

For certain substances of very high concern e.g. carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic substances, an authorisation from ECHA is necessary for their use and placing on the market. This will be granted to the producing companies and importers only if it can be justified. It is the aim of REACH to replace very dangerous substances by less harmful ones.

Registration of fuel ethers under REACH

Fuel ethers (MTBE, ETBE and TAME) have been registered by EFOA member companies in a consortium with other registrants in late summer 2010. The registration includes the required Chemical Safety Report.  For further inquiries about the fuel ether REACH consortium (FERC), please contact Mrs Cornelia Tietz.

This REACH risk assessment is an update of the EU-Risk Assessment for MTBE prepared by the Finnish Competent Authorities in 2001. The REACH assessment demonstrates the safe use for production, formulation and use as an octane enhancer in gasoline as well as use in the production of other chemicals with the corresponding recommended operational conditions.  Furthermore the documents demonstrate that an authorisation from ECHA is not necessary for these fuel ethers.

EU legislation on chemicals differentiates between existing and new substances. Existing substances are those listed in the European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances (EINECS). This is a list of all chemicals produced or used in Europe prior to September 18, 1981. New chemicals are anything produced or used in Europe after that date.

As a new substance, TAEE is subject to a full risk assessment outside the REACH Risk Assessment process. EFOA will be pleased to provide interested parties with details of who to contact for more information.

GPS Safety Summaries

The Global Product Strategy (GPS), an initiative developed by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and launched in 2006, builds on the product stewardship elements of industry’s voluntary Responsible Care initiative. The GPS Safety Summaries provide easy-to-understand information on general risk characterization and risk management for chemicals in commerce and aim to improve the safe management of chemicals, harmonize approaches between developing, emerging and industrialized regions, and strengthen public confidence that our products are handled safely at all stages of the life cycle.

EFOA companies have provided ICCA with GPS Safety summaries for ETBE, MTBE and TAME (check the GPS Chemical information search on the ICCA website).

For European companies and associations, chemical management activities under GPS are driven by the REACH legislation and timelines that came into force in June 2007.


Further reading
REACH restriction regime - the basics
REACH Q&A

Usefeul links
ReachCentrum                             
ECHA REACH Legislation
ECHA Guidance on Information Requirements under REACH and Chemical Safety Assessment