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REACH (regulatory framework for chemicals)

Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 establishes the ‘REACH’(Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) system. It aims to protect human health and the environment by ensuring greater safety in the production and use of chemical substances.

REACH, which entered into force in 2007, applies to all chemical substances and thus has an impact on many businesses.

It requires companies to identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and sell in the EU. This information must be sent to the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki for registration in a database.

Companies must also demonstrate the safe use of the substance and communicate the risk management measures to users. Unregistered substances may not be manufactured in the EU or imported into the EU.

Authorities (European Commission and the relevant national authorities) identify substances of very high concern and place them on the REACH candidate list. These substances will eventually be phased out of the market. The list serves as an incentive to companies using these substances to look for safer alternatives or innovative solutions.