What is REACH?

On 18 December 2006 the Council of Ministers adopted a new EU regulatory framework for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). REACH aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment while maintaining the competitiveness and enhancing the innovative capability of the EU chemicals industry. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was launched on 1st June 2008, and is formally responsible for the operation of REACH. Since the Launch of ECHA, Council Regulation (EEC) 793/93 on Existing Substances has been revoked and replaced by the REACH legislation (Regulation EC No 1907/2006).

More details of the operation of the REACH regulation can be found on the European Commission Joint Research Centre website.

Entering into force in June 2007, the REACH regulation places specific responsibilities on producers, importers and users of chemical substances in Europe. These responsibilities include:

  1. Registration of substances produced in or imported to the EU in quantities of one ton or more per year. Registration requires the industry to provide information on the properties, uses and other necessary information on chemicals. In order to register, a dossier must be submitted to the European the Chemical Agency’s (ECHA).
  2. Analysis of chemical impact on the environment and human health.
  3. Informing the supply chain on the chemicals produced. Producers have the responsibility to inform downstream users of the chemical composition of their products. The main method for this communication is the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

Under the REACH regulation, substances can be regulated by Authorisation (for use in specific applications), or by Restriction with specific exemptions. Authorisation is an important process, achieved by a legislative procedure which includes nomination of substances (by EU Member States or by ECHA) to a "Candidate List", published on the ECHA website, after which the decision on whether to authorise is taken by ECHA committees and the Commission.

The REACH processes are summarised below:

  • Pre-registration
  • Data Sharing
  • Registration

Industry gathers information and ensures responsible and well-informed management of the risks
  • Evaluation
    • Dossier evaluation
    • Substance evaluation

ECHA and MS-CA control and request for further info
  • Authorisation
  • Restriction
  • Classification & labelling

COM, with support of ECHA and MS-CA , applies community wide risk management systems

Brominated flame retardant producers, who are members of the European Brominated Flame Retardant Industry Panel (EBFRIP), submitted a list of substances they produce to the European Authorities for pre-registration in June 2008.