Graphene Flagship establishes a new REACH-ECHA Working Group
The Graphene Flagship REACH/ECHA Working Group will work together with Graphene Flagship companies and stakeholders on European regulations on chemicals and nanomaterials, to facilitate the commercialisation of products enabled by graphene and related materials.
The ultimate goal of the Graphene Flagship is to bring graphene and related materials (GRMs), as well as GRM-enabled products to the market. In this spirit, our project supports several working groups and services to further connect researchers and manufacturers, stimulating innovation and industrial uptake. The Graphene Flagship REACH/ECHA Working Group will assess and advise on the registration of GRMs under REACH, a European regulation created to protect human health and the environment by managing the potential risks posed by chemicals.
REACH was adopted to classify and regulate chemical substances to prevent health and environmental risks, as well as to promote new manufacturing methods that are greener and more sustainable. The Regulation is implemented by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and all companies have to register with ECHA each chemical substance manufactured or imported in quantities of one tonne or more per year.
As the graphene market grows and more industries incorporate GRMs into their processes and products, such registration is needed. Recently, a group of companies has submitted a dossier to ECHA in order to officially register graphene, among these Graphene Flagship Partners Avanzare, Spain, and Versarien, UK. Afterwards, the Graphene Flagship established the REACH/ECHA Working Group, which will evaluate potential issues of industrial scale graphene manufacturing, gather information about health, environmental and sustainability risks, and provide guidance and assessment to companies to interact with ECHA and other regulatory bodies.
The Graphene Flagship REACH/ECHA Working Group held its first meeting in April 2021. Kostas Kostarelos, from Graphene Flagship partners the University of Manchester, UK, and ICN2, Spain, the Graphene Flagship’s Division Leader on Health, Medicine and Sensors, was appointed as Co-Chair, together with Thurid Gspann, from Graphene Flagship partner Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, to manage the launch of this new initiative and coordinate the future actions. Sofia Minero, from Graphene Flagship partner Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, will act as secretary. Her previous experience working for the European Chemical Society (EuChemS) will be most valuable for this new endeavour.
Kostas Kostarelos, Co-Chair of the Graphene Flagship REACH/ECHA Working Group, says: “The industrial interest towards graphene has grown tremendously in the past years, manifested by the high number of products and spin-offs that have emerged from the Graphene Flagship. Soon, industries will overcome the one-ton milestone required by ECHA and REACH prior to registration, and we must be prepared. The Graphene Flagship REACH/ECHA working group will collect information and review publications on graphene and layered materials, as well as assessing our industrial partners on current regulatory processes, risk management and evaluation.”
Jari Kinaret, Director of the Graphene Flagship, says: “The Graphene Flagship REACH/ECHA Working Group will have a key role within our project, complementing the outstanding work of other initiatives like the Graphene Flagship Standardisation Committee, the Graphene Flagship Validation Service and the Graphene Flagship Roadmap team. Together, they will contribute to a successful and widespread adoption of graphene and layered materials by key European industries. When we started the project over seven years ago, this was our goal: ensuring that graphene moves from academic laboratories to industrial manufacturing lines, enabling new applications and products and creating jobs in the European technological ecosystem.”
Andrea C. Ferrari, Science and Technology Officer of the Graphene Flagship and Chair of its Management Panel, adds: “We are pleased to launch this new Working Group, after hearing the needs of our partner and associated companies. The fact that many European Companies are coming together and collaborating with the Graphene Flagship to ensure ton scale registration of commercial graphene is a clear sign of success of the Graphene Flagship in translating graphene and related materials from the lab to mass production.”