Chemicals and hazardous substances are among the most controlled and regulated goods on the market, but they are also the most used in our daily products such as cleaning products or clothes. In the European Union, every chemical has to be registered by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) and to follow the REACH procedure.
We will today learn more about the REACH regulation and how to apply it to your company.
What is the REACH Regulation?
The REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 is a European decree concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). Published on June 2007, the regulation is intended for every company producing, trading and using chemical products.
Considering that most of our modern products are issued from the chemical industry, most of the work and formalities have to be done by the manufacturing and importing companies. The downstream companies using chemicals have little responsibility in the REACH procedures and the companies established outside the EU are not concerned by the regulation.
Which substances are concerned?
The REACH regulation aims most of the chemicals products, mixtures, and substances with some exceptions for the medical, veterinary, alimentary and cosmetic products, polymers and some on-site isolated intermediates. Every product and substance produced or imported by a company above one tonne a year must be registered by the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency).
Nevertheless, it is important to notice that the regulation does not apply to:
- radioactive substances;
- substances, which are subject to customs supervision and are in temporary storage, etc.;
- non-isolated intermediates;
- the carriage of dangerous substances;
How does it work?
The REACH Regulation establishes a procedure in four steps:
Identification of the substancesEvery chemical product and substance have to be accurately identified in order to enable information sharing, the use of test data between companies using this substance and the assessment of whether a substance has already been authorized or restricted.
The identity of a substance is described as following:
- Chemical name
- Chemical composition
RegistrationThe information collected during the identification of the substances are gathered in a registration dossier along with a risk assessment. Once the application is complete, it is transmitted to the ECHA for evaluation. Every substance can only be registered once and is usually charged with a registration fee.
EvaluationThe ECHA and the Member States evaluate the registration file by focusing on three areas:
- Examination of testing proposal
- Compliance check
- Substance evaluation
AuthorisationThe authorisation procedure targets Substances of Very High Concerns (SVHC) presenting high risks for health and/or the environment. The procedure insures that these substances are progressively replaced by more sustainable alternatives. If one of this substance is placed on the Authorisation List, manufacturers and importers can apply for an authorisation in order to produce and trade it.
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