REACH to enhance EU chemicals industry
The new European Chemicals regulation, Registration, Evaluation,
Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) was adopted in
December 2006. The REACH Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 and Directive
2006/121/EC amending Directive 67/548/EEC were published in the Official
Journal on December 30, 2006.
REACH came into force on June 1, 2007. Enterprises, which manufacture
or import more than one ton of a chemical substance/article per year,
will be required to register it in a central database administered by
the new EU Chemicals Agency. The Agency will provide IT tools and
guidance and Member States will offer help desk assistance to the
The new Regulation aims to improve the protection of human health and
the environment while maintaining competitiveness and enhancing the
innovative capability of the EU chemicals industry. REACH will give
greater responsibility to the industry to manage the risks from
chemicals and provide safety information that will be passed down the
REACH is a radical step forward in the EU chemicals management. The
onus will move from the authorities to industry. In addition, REACH will
allow the further evaluation of substances where there are grounds for
concern and foresees an authorisation system for the use of substances
of very high concern.
This applies to substances and articles that cause cancer,
infertility, genetic mutations or birth defects, and to those which are
persistent and accumulate in the environment.
The Authorisation system will require companies to switch
progressively to safer alternatives where a suitable alternative exists.
All applications for an authorisation need to include an analysis of
alternatives and a substitution plan where a suitable alternative
Current use restrictions will remain under the REACH system. REACH
also ensures that animal testing is kept to the strict minimum and that
alternative methods are encouraged.
REACH will require a registration, over 11 years of some 30.000
chemical substances. The registration process requires the manufacturers
and importers to generate data for all chemicals substances/articles
produced or imported into the EU above one ton per year.