1. Definition and history :
REACH means "Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances".
According to the European Chemicals Agency, the REACH legislation « is entered into force on 1st june 2007 in ordrer to streamline and improve the former legislative framework on chemicals of the European Union (EU). It makes industry principally responsible for managing the risks posed by chemicals for health and environment.»
It's for registration of the 30,000 chemicals used in industry and consumer products of consumer goods (paint, detergents, hygiene, cosmetics, perfumes...).
All firms that manufacture, use or import chemicals are concerned. They should assess themselves the toxicity of these substances to register with an independent agency (European Chemicals Agency) based in Helsinki.
The most dangerous substances may be prohibited by this agency. Companies must find substitute products safer for human health and environment.
2. Objectives :
The objectives of REACH are :
- ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals
- enhance competitiveness of european chemical industry, which is a key sector of EU economy
- promote alternative methods for assessing hazards of substances
- ensure the free circulation of substances on the market within the EU .
- streamline the national and community legislation .