Let’s Talk About Europe – A Conversation with Bjorn Hansen, Executive Director of ECHA [PODCAST]
Bjorn Hansen, Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Lynn L. Bergeson, and Jane S. Vergnes, Ph.D., DABT® sat down to discuss the imminent end of the Brexit transition period and the very recent issuance of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability towards a Toxic-Free Environment. As Executive Director of the regulatory agency charged with managing the scientific, technical, and administrative aspects of chemical management programs in the EU, Mr. Hansen leads approximately 600 employees, many of whom are located in Helsinki, where ECHA’s offices are located.
In the podcast, Mr. Hansen states that in order to meet climate neutrality goals over the next 30 years, the chemical industry, as one of the most energy-consuming industries, must develop new chemicals and processes. It will be important to follow regulatory changes as REACH and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) will play major roles in the development of these new chemicals. The participants also discuss what chemical innovators need to know regarding sustainable design at each point in a chemical product’s life cycle, incentives for circular design in the European regulatory systems, lessons learned in the authorization process under REACH, expected updates to the Biocides Directive, and expectations regarding the January 1, 2021, Brexit effective date.
Regarding data sharing after Brexit, Mr. Hansen states that data held by ECHA related to substances registered in the EU under REACH cannot be shared: “When a company submits information under one law, it's only allowed to be used under that law, unless explicitly told otherwise. And therefore, REACH data that we hold can only be used for implementing REACH. […] So that's also why we're not able to share the data with the US or with anybody else, simply because they don't implement REACH. REACH is the European law overseen by the European Court of Auditors, and that's the system within which the data can be used. And therefore, as long as the UK do not implement the European REACH, we, at least as an agency, cannot share that data. […] They have to talk to their industry to get their data.”
The 45-minute podcast is a valuable resource for companies operating in Europe and the UK.