The EC’s 2006 Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Registration of Chemicals ("REACH") regulations place "the responsibility for the management of the risks of [chemical] substances with. . .[the companies that] manufacture, import, place on the market or use [the] substances in the context of their professional activities."  Guidance on Registration, Guidance for the Implementation of REACH, European Chemicals Agency, Version 1.3, May 2008, at p. 12.  

To this end, REACH requires companies manufacturing or importing chemical substances in quantities greater than one ton per year to register those substances before they "can be manufactured, imported or placed on the market."  As part of these requirements, "manufacturers and importers need to collect or generate data on the substances and assess how risks to human health and environment can be controlled by applying suitable risk management measures."  This can often be an expensive and time consuming process.

Providing some relief in certain circumstances, Article 2(7)(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 provides that certain substances are exempt from registration under REACH because "sufficient information is known about these substances that they are considered to cause minimum risk because of their intrinsic properties." These substances are listed in REACH Annex IV.

On October 8, 2008, the EC removed carbon and graphite from Annex IV "due to the fact that the concerned Einecs and/or CAS numbers are used to identify forms of carbon or graphite at the nano-scale, which do not meet the criteria for inclusion in" Annex IV.   We first posted on this possibility last June.

Commission Regulation (EC) NO 987/2008 of 8 October 2008 Amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) as regards Annexes IV and V.

This decision is consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s reasoning that nanoscale substances with new molecular identities — such as fullerenes and carbon nanotubes — are considered new chemical substances for purposes of premanufacturing notice submissions under the Toxic Substances Control Act.