What Is the EU REACH Regulation?
The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation came into effect in 2007 to protect human health and the environment by restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in products made and sold in the European Union (EU), and to increase the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. In order for potentially hazardous substances to be in scope of REACH, they must first be identified as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) at the request of member states or the European Commission. Once a substance is confirmed as an SVHC, it is added to the Candidate List, which contains substances, whose priority is determined by the ECHA, for possible inclusion on the Authorisation List. The Authorisation List restricts the use of certain substances in the European Union without authorization from the ECHA. Certain substances are restricted from being manufactured, marketed or used across the EU by REACH Annex XVII, also known as the restricted substances list, whether they are authorized or not. These substances are deemed to pose a substantial risk to human health and the environment.
Learn more about EU REACH on the ECHA website.
Company Requirements Under EU REACH
Under the EU REACH Regulation, the onus is placed on industry to monitor and disclose hazardous chemicals in the products they produce and sell in the EU. If a product contains substances from the Candidate List above the allotted threshold, companies are required to communicate the presence of these substances to downstream customers and the ECHA, and potentially provide safe-use instructions. Substances on the Authorisation List are not permitted to be used by companies in products they make or sell in the European Economic Area (EEA) unless they receive authorization from the ECHA. Companies should also be aware of the increasing number of substances on the restricted substances list, as the restrictions in place that could restrict or prevent substance use entirely can dramatically impact product composition and products being sold in the EU.
In order to facilitate compliance with the always-evolving REACH Regulation, companies must remain updated on SVHCs and changing regulatory requirements to ensure the effectiveness of their product compliance programs. Efficient supply chain communication and full material disclosures help companies gain visibility into their product composition, eliminating the need to reach out to their supply chain every time SVHCs are updated. In order to maintain REACH compliance, companies must ensure they are aware of new developments to these lists as they occur.
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