The European reglementation
I. ABOUT REACH
Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union regulation dated 18 December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. Its 849 pages took seven years to pass, and it has been described as the most complex legislation in the Union's history and the most important in 20 years. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances and will affect industries throughout the world. REACH entered into force on 1 June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. The regulation also established the European Chemicals Agency, which manages the technical, scientific and administrative aspects of REACH.
II. REACH REQUIREMENTS
One of the major elements of the REACH regulation is the requirement to communicate information on chemicals up and down the supply chain. This ensures that manufacturers, importers and also their customers are aware of information relating to health and safety of the products supplied. For many retailers the obligation to provide information about substances in their products within 45 days of receipt of a request from a consumer is particularly challenging. Having detailed information on the substances present in their products will allow retailers to work with the manufacturing base to substitute or remove potentially harmful substances from products. The list of harmful substances is continuously growing and requires organizations to constantly monitor any announcements and additions to the REACH scope. This can be done on the European Chemicals Agency's website.
III. REACH AUTHORISATION LIST
The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has published the REACH Authorization List, in an effort to tighten the use of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs). The list is an official recommendation from the ECHA to the European Commission. The list is also regularly updated and expanded, and currently comprises a total of 161 SVHCs.
To sell or use these substances, manufacturers, importers and retailers in the European Union (EU) must apply for authorization from the ECHA. The applicant is to submit a chemical safety report on the risks entailed by the substance, as well as an analysis of possible alternative substances or technologies including present and future research and development processes.
The REACH legislation
IV. MORE INFORMATIONS
List of substances subjected to authorisation