- REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals. It is a chemical regulation for the European Union which was adopted on 1 June, 2007 in order to reduce the potential risks that chemicals can pose, while simultaneously enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. REACH also promotes alternative methods for the assessment of hazardous substances in order to reduce the number of tests on animals.
- REACH applies to a large group of chemical substances; not only those used in industrial processes, but in our day-to-day lives as well. For example, the group includes chemical substances that are found in cleaning products, paints, as well as in items such as clothing, furniture and electrical appliances. Therefore, the regulation has an impact on most companies across the EU.
- REACH places the burden of proof on companies. To comply with the regulation, companies must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances that they manufacture and market within the EU. They have to demonstrate to the European Chemicals Agency ( [Öffnet externen Link in neuem Fenster] ECHA) how the substance can be safely used and they must communicate the risk management measures to the users.
- If the risks cannot be managed, authorities can restrict the use of those particular substances. Ultimately, the most hazardous substances should therefore be substituted with less dangerous ones.
- The most important objectives for the regulation are:
- Protection of human health and the environment
- Maintenance and enhancement of the competitiveness of the European Chemicals Industry
- Prevention of fragmentation of the EU internal market due to differences in national chemical safety legislations
- Increased transparency for downstream users of chemicals, employees and end customers
- Favouring of non-animal testing
- Promotion of replacing hazardous substances with safer substitutes
- REACH requires that chemical substances that are on their own, developed within preparations, and those of which are intentionally released from objects must be registered to the ECHA. The regulation applies to substances manufactured in, or imported to the EU in annual quantities of 1 tonne or more per company per year, unless the regulation indicates otherwise. About 30,000 of substances (from 100,000 on the European market) are produced in such quantities and are therefore covered by REACH.
- Responsibility is given to the manufacturer, importer and downstream user
- No data, no market, no business
- Provision of information to users
- Substances of very high concern are progressively replaced by suitable alternatives where viable
Key Features of REACH:
- New requirement is the registration of almost all substances manufactured in, or imported into the EU above 1 tonne per year
- One Substance, One Registration (OSOR)
- Information requirements increase with increasing mass supplied
- Authorisation for the use of some chemicals and restriction on the use of others
- Establishes the ECHA