The Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which entered into force on June 1, 2007, is by far the most important piece of the EU chemical legislation. It has been created to ensure the safe use of all chemical substances in the EU, both manufactured and imported. In many ways, it is an ambitious, breakthrough approach to chemicals management.

REACH applies to all uses of all chemical substances throughout their whole life cycle (from production to disposal). It imposes obligations on all actors in the supply chain to collect or generate data on the substances they use to assess how to manage the risks to human health and the environment during the production and use of these substances.

The key principle of REACH is “no data – no market” meaning that no substance can be manufactured, used or imported in the EU without registration with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Making REACH work the chemical industry’s priority

Cefic fully supports REACH and believes this legislation is fit for purpose. More than 20,000 substances have been registered with ECHA, with corresponding physico-chemical, toxicological, ecotoxicological and use data, thereby creating the largest and most comprehensive database on substances, their properties and behaviour in the world.

The registration phase is not the end game of REACH. The law stipulates that companies should regularly update their registration dossiers to ensure that the data on  safety of chemicals is complete and up-to-date. New chemicals must be fully registered too. Now that the last registration deadline has passed, registrants are starting the process of reviewing their dossiers to identify and tackle any data gaps.

Cefic is committed to helping REACH registrants re-evaluate and update their dossiers. In June 2019 Cefic launched an Action Plan to proactively and systematically review and update data in previously submitted REACH registration dossiers.

Another important aspect for the EU chemical industry is the enforcement of REACH on  imported products, which is crucial to ensuring the level playing field between EU-based and foreign manufacturers. We therefore support all enforcement efforts undertaken by EU member states to check compliance of imported substances, mixtures, and articles.  Cefic provides the industry’s input on the implementation of the EU chemicals legislation. In June 2018, Cefic signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ECHA to cooperate on the effective implementation of REACH. ECHA and Cefic will work on improving the scientific assessment of some substances and further enhancing safety information and its communication across the supply chain.

Cefic also provides guidance to companies to facilitate their REACH registration process. If you are a company looking for assistance, please click here.