What is REACH?
REACH is a new European Union regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals. It came into force on 1st June 2007 and replaces a number of European Directives and Regulations with a single system.
REACH has several aims:
- To provide a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the use of chemicals.
- To make the people who place chemicals on the market (manufacturers and importers responsible for understanding and managing the risks associated with their use.)
- To allow the free movement of substances on the EU market.
- To enhance innovation in and the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry.
- To promote the use of alternative methods for the assessment of the hazardous properties of substances e.g. quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) and read across.
Information in the supply chain
The passage of information up and down the supply chain is a key feature of REACH. Users should be able to understand what manufacturers and importers know about the dangers involved in using chemicals and how to control risks. However, in order for suppliers to be able to assess these risks they need information from the users about how they are used. REACH provides a framework in which information can be passed both up and down supply chains.
REACH adopts and builds on the previous system for passing information - the Safety Data Sheet. This should accompany materials down through the supply chain, providing the information users need to ensure chemicals are safely managed. In time these safety data sheets will include information on safe handling and use.