Are You Keeping Pace with the Velocity of Chemical Management Regulatory Changes?

Chemical Regulations

In physics, velocity, or the speed of an object, is defined as the rate of change in the position of an object over time and can be calculated by dividing distance over time. If we take this definition and apply it to chemical management regulations, we can only conclude that the velocity of this key laboratory task has significantly increased in the last ten years, and does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

chemical management
Chemical management regulations seem to be shifting with an increasing velocity!
Image source: Flickr user Kate Ter Haar

Here are some of the reasons that the velocity of chemical management regulations is increasing:

REACH – In 2006, the European Union passed the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restrictions of Chemicals Act also known as REACH. The law was designed to be phased in over a ten year period, beginning in 2008 and achieving completion in 2018. Of particular importance are the substances of very high concern (SVHC), a list of chemicals considered particularly dangerous. The use of any of the chemicals on this list must be reported to the European Chemicals Agency immediately.

GHS – The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is an attempt to standardize how chemicals are labeled and managed on an international scale. The goal of the regulation is to create consistent global criteria for the classification and labeling of chemicals. Although the UN’s goal of adoption was 2008, most countries have delayed implementation through 2015 (United States) and 2017 (Australia).

TSCA – Although new legislation has not yet passed and the political environment in Washington D.C. appears tenuous, there does appear to be more voices calling for reform. However, even without a major overhaul, the Environmental Protection Agency appears to be using the current TSCA mandate to regulate chemical management, such as that concerning hydraulic fracking chemicals.

With all of the new and changing regulatory requirements, keeping up with the growing regulatory demands regarding chemical management using paper and pencil or even spreadsheet software will soon prove completely unrealistic.  To be in compliance, chemical managers need better and more advanced tools that will help them stay organized and offer a complete view of their chemical inventory.

For companies struggling to comply with all of the constantly-changing regulatory requirements, it’s important to carefully consider available options. There are many tools available in the marketplace that can help with regulatory needs. For example, the Green Screen List Translator can be used to facilitate the screening and classification of chemicals. Other tools such as the Actio Material Disclosure Tool can help managers understand the hazards chemicals currently in their supply chain.

However, the best way to address the growing regulatory demands is to implement a chemical inventory management system. The benefits of such a system include the ability to generate reports based upon the type or classification of chemical and manage Safety Data Sheets (SDS) electronically. A chemical inventory management system can generate a list of SVCH for REACH, track SDS updates from vendors to meet GHS requirements or help oil and gas companies produce a list of fracking chemicals according to the TSCA rules.

It’s true that the velocity of regulatory changes is increasing. The best way to address this is to increase your own efficiency by installing a chemical inventory management system that can automate regulatory reporting.

For more information on how Accelrys CISPro can help your team more effectively manage chemical inventory, please visit our website today.

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