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European Union REACH

 

  • REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals.

 

  • “REACH is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry.”

 

  • REACH applies to all chemical substances ranging from industrial process to cleaning products. Paints, clothing dyes, and other articles all are considered as part of REACH. The regulation has an impact on most, if not all, companies across the EU.

 

  • To comply with the REACH regulation, companies must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. If you do not sell in any EU companies, you should not fall under the regulations of REACH. However, it is still good to be able to demonstrate how the substance can be safely used and can communicate the risk management measures to the users. If you do sell in the EU market, then you must demonstrate to ECHA how the substance can be safely used and must communicate the risk management measures to the users

 

  • If risks cannot be managed, REACH authorities can restrict the substance via many different means. This forces companies to replace most hazardous substances with less dangerous ones. In the long run it allows for safer working environment, less downstream user risks, and better environment preservation.

 

How does REACH work?

 

  • REACH established procedures for collecting and assessing information on the properties and hazards of substances

  • Companies need to register their substances only if they do not fall within the exemptions laid fourth by REACH. To complete this requirement companies can work together with other companies who are registering the same substance to reduce costs and promote harmonization of hazard communication.

  • ECHA receives and evaluates individual registrations for their compliance, and the EU Member States evaluate selected substances to clarify initial concerns for human health or for the environment. Authorities and ECHA's scientific committees assess whether the risks of substances can be managed.

  • Authorities can ban hazardous substances if their risks are unmanageable. They can also decide to restrict a use or make it subject to a prior authorization.

Under REACH you may have one of these roles:

  • Manufacturer: If you make chemicals, either to use yourself or to supply to other people (even if it is for export), then you will have responsibilities under REACH.

  • Importer: If you buy anything from outside the EU/EEA, you have responsibilities under REACH though some may differ from manufacturer responsibilities.

  • Downstream users: Most companies use chemicals, sometimes even without realizing it, therefore you need to check your obligations if you handle any chemicals in your industrial or professional activity. You might have responsibilities under REACH.

 

  • Companies established outside the EU: If you are a company established outside the EU, you are not bound by the obligations of REACH, even if you export their products into the customs territory of the European Union. The responsibility for fulfilling the requirements of REACH, such as pre-registration or registration lies with the importers established in the European Union, or with the only representative of a non-EU manufacturer established in the European Union.

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