What is REACH?

Simon Tasker

6th February 2012

Manufacturing

What is REACH?

A lot of people in our industry are concerned about REACH.  Here is a brief overview.

REACH is an abbreviation of Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals.  It is enforced under Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 and its amendments.  REACH is applicable to the European Community and is concerned with the safe use of chemicals, aiming to protect human health and the environment through the identification of the properties of chemical substances.

Under REACH , manufacturers and importers are required to register information onto a database of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) regarding the substances that are manufactured within the European Community or imported from outside it.  Information on chemical substances held on this database can be accessed via the internet.  manufacturers and importers much register details on chemical and physical properties, toxicity and ecotoxicity data, environmental fate and pathways plus the amounts produced or imported per annum.

The dates for registration of information vary with the properties of the substances and quantities produced.  There is a general obligation for manufacturers and importers of substances of substances to submit a registration to the ECHA for each substance manufactured or imported in quantities of 1 tonne or above per annum.

Registration deadlines under REACH can be summarised as follows:

  • 30th November 2010: 1,000 tonnes OR 1 tonne of substances which are classed as high concern
  • 31st May 2013: 100 to 1,000 tonnes
  • 31st May 2018: 1 to 100 tonnes

The information must be supplied to ECHA in a registration dossier as specified by the REACH regulation.

Another major aim of REACH is to ensure communication in the supply chain, from the manufacturer to the end-user (down-stream user or distributor).  Information is needed to use chemicals safely including health, safety and environmental properties, risks and risk management measures which is required to be passed up and down the supply chain.  The primary tool for supply of this information is in the form of a Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

For further information on REACH we recommend consulting the Health and Safety Executive website or the European Chemicals Agency.  This information was correct at the time of writing. Please note we cannot be held responsible for accuracy.