REACH is an European Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals. It first came into force on 1st June 2007 and replaces a number of European Directives and Regulations with a single system. The 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 responsible for understanding and managing risks associated with their use.
- To allow the free movement of chemicals on the EU market.
- To enhance innovation in and the competitiveness of the EU chemical industry.
- To promote the use of alternative methods for the assessment of the hazardous properties of substances.
A European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki, Finland deals with the day to day management of the REACH requirements:
Registration – chemical producers / importers must submit a registration dossier containing safety data to the chemicals agency for all chemicals produced in quantities above 1 tonne per year.
Evaluation – experts evaluate safety data for higher volume chemicals and other chemicals of concerns.
Authorisation – chemicals of very high concern will be phased out and replaced by safer alternatives, where this is technically and economically viable.
The registering of chemicals, is now underway. Now that this is under way then those manufacturers (or importers) of the chemicals will need to know how their customers are using them so they can calculate the exposure to those chemicals correctly. Companies such as Kitchenmaster, who mix the chemicals rather than manufacture them, need to ensure that their suppliers are going through the registration phase and we can confirm that this is taking place.