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Summaries of EU Legislation

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How the EU regulates the use of chemicals

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How the EU regulates the use of chemicals

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and setting up a European Chemicals Agency

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE REGULATION DO?

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. It also:

  • 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).

KEY POINTS

  • 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 before the 1 June 2018 deadline for registering certain substances.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It entered into force on 1 June 2007.

BACKGROUND

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.

  • ‘Chemicals’ on the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
  • ‘Chemicals’ on the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment
  • ‘REACH’ on the European Chemicals Agency website

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ L 136, 29.5.2007, pp. 3–280)

Successive amendments and changes to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 and its Annexes have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED ACTS

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)

Council 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)

last update 02.02.2016

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