REACH is the Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals.

It entered into force on the 1st of June 2007 to streamline and improve the former legislative framework on chemicals of the European Union (EU). REACH places greater responsibility on industry to manage the risks that chemicals may pose to the health and the environment.

In principle REACH applies to all chemicals: not only chemicals used in industrial processes but also in our day-to-day life, for example in cleaning products, paints as well as in articles such as clothes, furniture and electrical appliances.

The aims of REACH are to: 

  • Improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals;
  • Enhance the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry, a key sector for the economy of the EU;
  • Promote alternative methods for the assessment of hazards of substances;
  • Ensure the free circulation of substances on the internal market of the European Union.

REACH replaces about 40 pieces of legislation with a streamlined and improved regulation. Other legislation regulating chemicals (e.g. on cosmetics, detergents) or related legislation (e.g. on health and safety of workers handling chemicals, product safety, construction products) not replaced by REACH will continue to apply. REACH has been designed not to overlap or conflict with the other chemical legislation.

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