What is REACH ?

«Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals» — REACH — came into force in the European Union on 1st June 2007.

The aim of REACH is to ensure that approximately 30,000 of the most frequently used chemical substances and all new substances are registered, with appropriate safety data made available. The Regulation covers substances in quantities of at least 1 tonne per year and supplier, as well as all new chemicals. In certain cases, potential users of substances of very high concern («SVHCs») are also required to apply for authorization to use them.

REACH replaces a series of EU legal texts on chemicals. It also supplements other legal regulations on the protection of the environment and on safety. It does, however, leave many sector-specific regulations (e.g. on detergents, dyes, etc.) unaffected. There are also extensive exemptions from parts of the Regulation. Chemical substances in foodstuffs and drugs, for example, are covered by other EU regulations. There is also no requirement to register natural substances under REACH, provided they are not hazardous and have not been chemically modified. The REACH Regulation automatically comes into force in all 27 EU Member States and requires no ratification from individual national parliaments.