20 March, 2018

Brexit and REACH: what will the future hold?

By Naheed Rehman

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It’s hard to avoid the topic of Brexit. It pervades almost everything we do both professionally and personally. In this post, we explore the uncertainties Brexit presents and how much energy is being spent in speculation about, as well as planning for, multiple possible outcomes.

REACH family in field Like most companies associated with the chemical industry, a priority topic engaging the minds at Envigo is the impact of Brexit on REACH regulation. A quick read of the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) website is sobering. It clearly states that, as it currently stands, if you are a UK-based registrant of a substance under REACH, once the UK leaves the EU, the registration will be perceived as 'non-existent'. Further reading shows the true extent of this existential crisis on future submissions.

The UK has been an active player in the development of REACH. As such, it has contributed to building the largest and most comprehensive database of chemicals in the world, and realizing the goal of improved regulation of substances dangerous to both the consumer and the environment. 

Brexit is a priority for many chemical companies and we are taking a leading role in industry bodies to support the aspirations of the REACH regulation post Brexit. Access our webinar and understand what Brexit will mean for the chemical industry.

Encouragingly, both industry and government appear keen to support the aspirations of REACH regulation to ensure the safe use of chemicals post-Brexit. Continued chemicals regulation is also supported by the general public, as evidenced in a recent opinion poll that reported 63% of people believe;

"There should be no reduction in regulatory standards
that protect people and the environment from potentially
harmful chemicals when the UK leaves the EU"


Despite the uncertainty, there is a positive wave of energy building up across the chemicals industry, NGOs and academia to help shape visions of a post-Brexit future. Multiple industry bodies, such as the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and the Chemical Business Association (CBA), support the need for ongoing regulation and are urging the government to work towards aligning with REACH post-Brexit, either through some kind of mutual recognition approach based on a UK-REACH solution or by keeping UK companies, scientists and regulators within EU-REACH and thus overseen by the European Commission and ECHA.

The government has also given clear commitment to prioritize chemical regulation and REACH making it a 'key topic of the opening phase of [Brexit] negotiations' and ensuring that the Repeal Bill provides continuity and certainty for the chemicals sector.

Stream our recent Brexit webinar for more details. We're taking a leading role within the industry in order to help shape our regulatory future, articulating requirements and 'must-haves' during these important negotiations. However, we are also planning for worst case, expanding our Only Representative (OR) offering so that we are poised to support companies who must register or re-register their substances under REACH using an Only Representative within the EU.

Brexit is a priority for Envigo and we are taking a leading role in industry bodies to support the aspirations of the REACH regulation post Brexit.

Access this webinar and understand what Brexit will mean for the chemical industry.

What will Brexit mean for the chemical industry

About the author

Naheed is Business Lead Consultant for Chemicals, and provides Envigo with the leadership and direction in terms of future scientific and regulatory developments, particularly in the innovations space and potential impact with emerging global regulations. 

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Category // Chemical, REACH, brexit, Naheed Rehman