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REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. 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.
REACH is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The new law entered into force on 1 June 2007.
REACH will place responsibility on industry to manage the risks from chemical substances, and to provide sufficiently detailed safety information to allow safe use of chemical substances. Through this, the aim is to provide improved protection to human health and the environment. It is also expected that the EU chemical industry will benefit from enhanced competitiveness and innovation.
To achieve the aims of REACH, companies manufacturing or importing chemical substances (that is individual single component chemicals) in quantities greater than 1 tonne per year, will be required to gather information on the properties, uses, and classification of those substances. This information will then form part of the registration dossier, which must include information on safe usage. For substances produced or imported in quantities greater than 10 tonne per year, a chemical safety report will also be required. For quantities above 100 tonne per year further information will be required.
Products such as medicines, biocides, radioactive materials and wastes will not be covered by REACH; these are covered by other legislation.
It is important to recognize that REACH requires registration of substances; that is individual single component chemicals. Preparations, Mixtures, and Formulations are not required to be registered under REACH, only each of their component substances.
For REACH to work, manufacturers of chemical substances will need to know how their products are used. Without this information it will be impossible to provide the correct and appropriate safety information. This means that in the early stages of registration and dossier generation, downstream users will be required to provide information on how substances are used.
A downstream user is someone who uses chemicals in their own production processes. This could include food additives, water treatment chemicals, paints and hygiene chemicals.
Most large suppliers of formulated chemicals (for example; hygiene products, food processing aids, effluent treatments, corrosion inhibitors, etc) will be well aware of REACH and how it affects products supplied to their customers. However, it is advisable for users of chemical based products to produce an inventory of all chemicals used on site and contact the suppliers to confirm their position.
A European Chemicals Agency has been formed to act as the central point of reference and will be responsible for managing REACH and providing a database from which consumers and professionals can find hazard information.
In the UK the competent authority is the HSE.
The EU regulatory framework for REACH was introduced on 29 October 2003.
First Reading: European Parliament Reading – 2005.
Second Reading: European Parliament Reading – 2006.
Regulation in force mid 2007.
July to November 2008 Pre-registration of substances.
2008 – 2010 Registration of substances produced or imported >1000 tonne.
2010 – 2013 Registration of substances produced or imported in the range 100 – 1000 tonne.
2018 – Registration of substances in the range 1- 100 tonne.
Holchem mainly produces formulated products by blending substances. Formulated products do not need to be registered.
All of Holchem’s suppliers have confirmed that they are pre-registering the substances used in our formulations. However, over the last 18 months, the combination of BPD and REACH has resulted in a few raw materials being withdrawn by suppliers. We were given plenty of warning and were able to formulate around the problem. We suspect that a few more materials will disappear over the next few years, but this is unlikely to be an overnight occurrence, and again we will be able to formulate around the problem.
Overall, we do not anticipate REACH resulting in the withdrawal of any Holchem products.
Over the next few years Holchem will be asked by suppliers for information as to how substances are used, this will feed into the evaluation and eventual authorisation parts of REACH.
Although Holchem mainly produces formulated products, we do manufacture a few substances. These we have pre-registered. As the REACH process continues, we will support these substances to full registration.