REACH regulation


REACH regulation

Regulation (Ec) No 1907/2006 Of The European Parliament And Of The Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC

REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. It has been described as the most complex legislation in the Union's history and the most important in 20 years. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances and will affect industries throughout the world. REACH entered into force on 1 June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. The regulation also established the European Chemicals Agency, which manages the technical, scientific and administrative aspects of REACH.

REACH applies to substances manufactured or imported into the EU in quantities of 1 tonne or more per year. That includes all individual chemical substances on their own, in mixtures or in articles (if the substance is intended to be released during normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions of use from an article).

    There are two key central concepts in REACH that go beyond the former chemical control schemes:
  • Industry is responsible for safe use of chemicals, with ECHA and the other regulators targeting their work to spot checks or to especially problematic areas.
  • Risk assessment is central to the various REACH processes.

REACH Regulation covers all sectors manufacturing, importing, distributing or using chemicals as raw materials or finished products (not only the chemical industry) and applies regardless of the company size. The regulation requires every actor in the supply chain to communicate information on the safe use of chemicals and gives consumers the right to ask about substances of very high concern contained in articles.

Companies, accordingly to their position in the supply chain have different roles and different obligation under REACH. The main responsibility is put on manufacturers and importers of substances who have to collect information on the chemicals and pass it to ECHA in a registration dossier. But also downstream users, distributors and consumers have some duties among which the most important is maintaining effective communication on the safe use of chemicals and on new hazards that might appear.

A major part of REACH is the requirement for manufacturers or importers of substances to register them with ECHA. Not registered substances can’t be placed on the market. The other aim is to eliminate most hazardous substances from the market. This is being achieved by creating the list of substances of very high concern (SVHC) which can be subsequently included in the Authorization list. Any substance that poses a particular threat that is deemed to require Community-wide action can be also restricted.