REACH is a European Union regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals. It came into force on 1st June 2007 and replaced a number of European Directives and Regulations with a single system. REACH has several aims:
REACH affects everyone in the chemical supply chain, including manufacturers, importers, formulators and downstream users. The regulations state that EU manufacturers and importers of chemical substances, preparations or substances contained in articles intended for release have to register those substances if the volume placed on the market exceeds 1 tonne per year per legal entity.
EU-based importers are fully liable for compliance with the REACH regulations, although any substance imported into the EU at volumes less than 1 tonne per year per legal entity does not have to be pre-registered or registered and is not covered by REACH.
The regulation replaced around 40 pieces of existing legislation and was designed not to overlap or conflict with other chemical legislation. Existing legislation regulating other types of chemicals (e.g. cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and biocides) or related legislation (e.g. on health and safety of workers handling chemicals, product safety and construction products) continues to stand.