Tuesday, March 6th was a busy day. This was the first official day of the ChemCon conference in Madrid. During the morning sessions, the speakers covered topics such as Registrations, Authorizations and Restrictions, while the afternoon was dedicated to North and South America. All zones were covered from Canada and the US all the way down to Chile and Argentina.
The first speaker of the day, from the company Evonik, had a very interesting topic—lessons learned from Registration experiences. He covered the areas of Lead registrants, data gaps, preparation of SIEF and an interesting method on how to approach consultants. The following speaker was Christel Musset from the ECHA. Her goal was to provide updates on the advancement of the European agency. Her main objective was to prepare the crowd for the registrations of 2013, sharing positive feedback from the previous ones. She emphasized the importance of data gathering quality and adequacy, the correct identification of substances and their uses, and the importance of robust study summaries, and CSR. The final message was to keep in mind post-registration activities.
The following presentation covered the re-enforcement of REACH. It was given by Szilvia Deim, from the forum for Exchange of information on enforcement of the European Union, based in Hungary. The presenter introduced the forum and its mechanisms and enthusiastically explained the best practices that member states share within the group. The key message of the presentation was to promote pro-activity in order to be compliant.
After a nice coffee break, the presentations continued with Julius Walker from BASF. The topic of his presentation was the REACH authorization issues, with the main message being that anticipating regulatory and legislative changes could quickly represent a competitive advantage for chemical companies. The topic of authorization was deepened in the next presentation by Bjorn Hansen of the European Commission – DG Environment. Bjorn explained the authorization and restriction in relation to other directives such as WEEE, ROHS, biocides, pesticides, etc. The morning session was finalized by Linda-Jean Cockroft with an informative presentation on lessons learned for future restrictions, emphasizing the importance of risk management and robust data.
Then came the afternoon when we had the opportunity to listen to updates on North America and South America. First to take the microphone was Lynn L. Bergeson, a lawyer from Washington D.C., who covered TSCA implementation. Even though there are some developments in the US (like increased availability of chemical information for the public, the development of a chemical plan and the identification of priority chemicals), it seems that nothing major will be achieved in 2012 in terms of regulations...and maybe not even in 2013. This, however, might depend on the US elections at the end of the year.
For Canada, Karen Lewis from Intertek Cantox, covered the CMP, the national program. She explained the way Canadian authorities divided substances by priority. The highest-priority are divided into the famous 12 batches, while medium-priority substances are divided using the “grouping” methodology.
Heading down South, the first presenter was Andre Donha, Senior Manager from the Rio de Janeiro office of Accenture. His presentation included a small introduction to Brazil, one of the most interesting countries in terms of investment and future potential. He then covered the topic of Chemical compliance, explaining the four standards. The rest of the afternoon was spent covering the other Latin American countries. Argentina and the Mercosur were explained from a SAP representative from Buenos Aires. The other countries covered in the afternoon were Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela. All these countries are different levels of chemical compliance involvement, but the main message here was that GHS is not yet implemented but very much a part of the national agendas.