Christian Eidem of Life Natural highlights an area of concern for the chemical industry after Brexit: “Life Natural is a fabric treatment company that uses Peppermint oil to control odor in clothes to reduce washes and replace silver treated clothing. It is very important to us that the regulation of Biocidal products runs smoothly after Brexit”.
The EU Biocidal Products Regulation system is a benchmark globally. For example, Korea recently established their own system for publishing lists of low risk active substances, including Peppermint Oil, and this was exactly the same as the EU list maintained by the EU BPR as Annex 1 to the regulations. The purpose of the EPR system is to ensure that
“the use of products with a more favourable environmental, human or animal health profile, biocidal products containing one or more of these active substance(s) are eligible for a simplified authorisation procedure.”
Chris Eidem says that the worse case scenario of a no deal Brexit has been avoided but there remain problems for the negotiation of the BPR system after Brexit. At the moment the plan is for companies to register for both the EU BPR and the UK BPR, as an entrepreneur, Christian Eidem, feels that: “Life Natural supplies a number of UK retailers like Marks and Spencer and John Lewis and we need to ensure that after Brexit our Peppermint Oil continues to be registered as a safe substance and that our company continues to be registered as a supplier.”
The UK is currently developing its own version of Article 95 list for approved active substances and suppliers and the UK’s regulator the Health and Safety Executive, HSE, provides guidance for companies dealing with the situation and uncertainty here and the EU equivalent, the ECHA, has advice here.
For UK companies that are registered here but trading in the EU there are a number of different options and period by which they will need to make changes. These depend on the nature of the product and the company. The range if from exit day +180 days through to exit day plus 24 months. The table published by the HSE itemising each possible scenario and advises on the actions that need to be taken and when they need to be taken.
The level of disruption even allowing for a deal with the EU will still be high in the sector. For all Biocidal product authorisations and active substance approval applications that are currently under review by the EU BPR the process will continue and the applications can proceed as normal but these authorisations and active substance approvals will not be valid in the UK. Any company in this situation will need to make a parallel application to the UK authority the HSE. The current EU regulations stipulate that suppliers have to either be located in the EU or have an appointed EU-based representative to be listed in the Article 95 list. Any non-EU companies who currently operate for the European Union market from a UK registration and base, this means that they will need to transfer their representation to the EU from the UK after Brexit. After the 31st January, the deep negotiations for the trade deal between the UK and the EU will begin. This process will take several years and the parallel systems will continue to operate. It is unlikely that the UK will remain within this area of EU regulation so the separate UK system run by the HSE will become permanent. On the EU side the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will publish further advice online outlining the actions UK, EU and non-EU businesses will need to take to ensure continued compliance and maintain access to the EU market.
The Korean example suggests that the UK list of safe substances and registration system will match the EU one but the bureaucratic systems will duplicate each other.