REACH is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The new law entered into force on 1 June 2007.
The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. At the same time, innovative capability and competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry should be enhanced. The benefits of the REACH system will come gradually, as more and more substances are phased into REACH.
The REACH regulation gives greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances. Manufacturers will be required to gather information on the properties of their chemical substances, which will allow their safe handling, and to register the information in a central database run by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki. The agency will act as the central point in the REACH system: it will manage the databases necessary to operate the system, co-ordinate the in-depth evaluation of suspicious chemicals and run a public data base in which consumers and professionals can find hazard information.