Summary of the Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 — Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and establishing a European Chemicals Agency
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?
The REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) regulation provides a comprehensive legislative framework for chemicals manufacture and use in Europe. It shifts from public authorities to the industry the responsibility for ensuring that chemicals produced, imported, sold and used in the EU are safe.
- promotes alternative methods to animal testing,
- creates a single market for chemicals,
- aims to foster innovation and competitiveness in the sector,
- establishes a European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
- The legislation applies to all chemical substances: manufactured, imported, sold, used on their own, in mixtures or in products. Many can be found in our daily lives as cleaning products, paints or in electrical appliances.
- Companies must register in a central database all chemicals which they manufacture or import in quantities of 1 tonne or more per year. The ECHA must check the information submitted in the registrations.
- Companies must identify and manage any risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. They must demonstrate how to use their products safely and inform users of any risk management measures they should take to ensure safe use throughout the supply chain.
- National authorities may restrict the manufacture or use of certain substances if they consider that the risks are not adequately managed.
- The legislation aims to replace the most hazardous substances by safer alternatives, where they are available.
- The legislation does not apply to certain groups of substances (e.g. those that are radioactive or under customs supervision) or to waste, as these are already extensively regulated under other legislation.
In 2013, the European Commission assessed the first 5 years of the REACH regulation and concluded no major overhaul was required. The second REACH review (REACH refit evaluation) was carried out by 2018 and revealed the need to revise certain elements of the legislation. The chemicals strategy for sustainability, published in October 2020, announced the need for a target revision of REACH.
FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?
It has applied since 1 June 2007.
The chemicals industry is one of the EU’s largest manufacturing sectors. It plays a pivotal role in our daily lives and in the overall competitiveness of the economy. The EU has put in place legislation which enables the chemicals industry (also the broader manufacturing industry which uses chemicals) to develop and innovate, while at the same time ensuring its products are safe for people and the environment.
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 771/2008 of 1 August 2008 laying down the rules of organisation and procedure of the Board of Appeal of the European Chemicals Agency (OJ L 206, 2.8.2008, pp. 5-13) - See consolidated version.
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 440/2008 of 30 May 2008 laying down test methods pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) (OJ L 142, 31.5.2008, pp. 1-739) - See consolidated version.
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 340/2008 of 16 April 2008 on the fees and charges payable to the European Chemicals Agency pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) (OJ L 107, 17.4.2008, pp. 6-25) - See consolidated version.
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 1238/2007 of 23 October 2007 on laying down rules on the qualifications of the members of the Board of Appeal of the European Chemicals Agency (OJ L 280, 24.10.2007, p. 10)