REACH Background

REACH is the Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals. It entered into force on 1st June 2007 to streamline and improve the former legislative framework on chemicals of the European Union (EU).

REACH introduces a single system for all chemicals (new and existing). This merges 40 existing Directives and Regulations. It is estimated that of the 100,000 existing chemicals only about 30,000 are placed on the market in volumes >1 metric ton. These ~30,000 are the targeted chemicals under the REACH proposal and will aid in closing the knowledge gap for these substances (both acute and long-term effects).

REACH places greater responsibility on industry to manage the risks that chemicals may pose to the health and the environment. All manufacturers and importers of chemicals must identify and manage risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market. For substances produced or imported in quantities of 1 ton or more per year per company, manufacturers and importers need to demonstrate that they have appropriately done so by means of a registration dossier, which shall be submitted to the Agency.

Goals of the new regulations 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, and Promote alternative methods for the assessment of hazards of substances.

REACH is an on-going compliance process which will have a significant impact to the business of all manufacturers, importers and downstream chemical users. All have specific obligations under the new legislation and M-I SWACO is well-informed of such developments.

The regulation allows transition of all substances that have already been manufactured and exist in the European market. These are known as “phase-in” substances and require pre-registration within the specified period of 1 June 2008 to 30 November 2008. This timescale must be adhered to in order to ensure the continued manufacture and usage of substances prior to full registration.