Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH)
What is REACH?
Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) is the recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management systems in the European Union (EU). The new REACH system puts much more responsibility on companies to collect data on most chemicals on the market, assess the risk of these chemicals, and define safe use down the supply chain. It also requires companies to justify continued use of chemicals of very high concern.
With REACH, some 30,000 chemicals will need a registration for the EU market, and for the most dangerous ones, an authorization must be obtained prior to using the chemical. Obligations under REACH will apply not only to chemical companies, but to any business which uses chemicals and exports products to the EU. Electronics, automotive, cosmetics and textiles are only a few examples of sectors that will be affected by REACH.
REACH became effective on June 1, 2007 in the twenty-seven EU member states. In general, there are many business relevant deadlines associated with the implementation of REACH that will require chemicals manufactured or imported into the EU to be registered with the new European Chemical Agency based in Helsinki, Finland. Companies seeking to register chemicals must submit information on the properties of their substances, their uses, and safe ways of handling them. For up to date information on REACH, please go to the US Department of Commerce's REACH website. (Use the link under "Important Links" at right).
Who is affected by REACH?
Any company that exports chemicals or chemical mixtures into the EU; competes in Europe, the U.S. or elsewhere with products meeting European standards; or exports finished products to Europe has been affected by REACH.