EU Chemicals Regulation (REACH): stay compliant with Interseroh
Already fulfilling all of your obligations from the EU Chemicals Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals = REACH)? We offer you comprehensive support for REACH compliance. Together with our long-standing partner Dr. Knoell Consult, we can offer you the following services:
- REACH training: We provide important basic training on the REACH Regulation with a focus on downstream users, i.e. companies who handle chemicals as part of their manufacturing work or commercial activities. We also offer this training as an inhouse event. Please contact us for more information.
- REACH impact analysis: We identify your obligations from the REACH Regulation – which may include reporting, providing information or registration. We also create proposals for ensuring compliance with these standards.
- REACH solution modules: If the impact analysis identifies areas where action is needed, we help you to implement the measures needed to ensure compliance. You can use one or all of our solution modules, depending on your needs.
- REACH info service: Ensure you stay up-to-date on REACH by subscribing to our REACH info service, which provides you with information all year round about legal changes or the addition of new substances to the REACH Candidate List.
At a glance: what is REACH?
The EU REACH Regulation for the protection of human health and the environment entered into force in 2007. The acronym REACH stands for the “Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals”.
Industry check: identify your need for action
All companies are required to assess the extent to which they manufacture, import or use products containing dangerous substances. Nearly every company uses chemicals – although some may not be aware of it.
The REACH Regulation therefore applies to any business and any chemical – and not just the chemicals used in industrial processes, but also the kinds of substances found in everyday products. The spectrum ranges from packaging materials and paints to shoes and clothing, furniture and electrical appliances.
Frequent questions of our customers
- What is REACH?
REACH is a Regulation passed by the European Union, and stands for the “Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals”. REACH entered into force on 1 June 2007 and aims to protect human health and the environment from the types of risks posed by chemicals.
- How does REACH work?
To comply with this chemicals Regulation, companies must identify and control the risks that are associated with the substances that they manufacture and place on the market in the EU. REACH sets out specific procedures for collecting and evaluating information about the properties and damaging effects of substances. The burden of proof is borne by the companies. They must register their substances while also working together with other companies that have registered the same substances. The individual registrations are sent to the ECHA (EUROPEAN CHEMICALS AGENCY), which examines them to assess conformity. The authorities and the ECHA’s scientific committees assess whether the risks posed by these substances can be controlled. REACH grants regulatory authorities powers to either restrict the usage of dangerous substances or prohibit their use entirely.
- Which substances must be registered? What is the deadline?
Registration applies to chemical substances on their own and in mixtures that are used or imported in quantities greater than 1 tonne per year. The manufacturer/importer must complete registration by 31 May 2018. This deadline does not apply to substances not previously present in the European Economic Area (new substances). These must be registered immediately, i.e. before manufacture or import.
- What happens in the event of non-compliance with REACH?
If the risks posed by a hazardous substance cannot be controlled, regulators may take action to prohibit the manufacture, marketing or use of the substance, or decide to restrict usage or issue only temporary authorisation for the substance. In the long term, the most hazardous chemicals are to be replaced by less dangerous substances. The authorities responsible for ensuring compliance with REACH intend to look more closely at online commerce from 2016 and increase the focus on the topic of substances in articles from 2017.
Source: official ECHA website (EUROPEAN CHEMICALS AGENCY): echa.europa.eu/regulations/reach/understanding-reach
- What practical consequences are there for companies who fail to comply with REACH?
Fines are one possibility. Companies also risk damage to their reputation due to revelations by NGOs, as well as legal claims and product recalls. Non-registration of substances may also mean suppliers go out of business or are unable to fulfil product orders. Converting to using alternative materials may also be costly. In the worst-case scenario, non-compliance with REACH may threaten the continued existence of a business, if regulators decide to prohibit substances that are essential to a production process.
- Why is virtually every business affected by REACH?
In principle, REACH applies to all chemical substances: not just process chemicals used in heavy industry but also those found in our everyday lives – such as in cleaning products and paints, and manufactured articles such as clothing, furniture and electrical appliances. REACH affects a wide variety of companies in many sectors, including those where one would not at first assume there was a link to chemical substances. In terms of REACH, your company will be assigned one of the following roles:
Manufacturer: If you manufacture chemicals, either to use them internally or to supply them to other companies (including export).
Importer: If you purchase items outside the EU/EEA. These items may be individual chemicals or mixtures for selling to others or finished products such as clothing, furniture or plastic goods.
Downstream user: If you handle chemical substances as part of your manufacturing or commercial activities. Nearly every company uses chemicals – although some may not be aware of it. Duties for retailers, for example, include maintaining REACH documentation along the entire supply chain and communicating information to consumers.
- What information must be communicated to consumers?
According to article 33 of the REACH Regulation, consumers have a right to be informed about the use, effects and correct handling of substances of very high concern in consumer goods. The request for information can be directed to the product supplier or seller and must be answered free of charge within 45 days. The duty of disclosure applies to all products, including household goods, textiles, footwear, sporting and DIY goods, furniture, electrical/electronic appliances, toys, vehicles and packaging.
This right applies regardless of whether a purchase is made. An online form for requesting information is provided by Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) with the support of the Federal Environment Agency. Consumers merely need to enter the number under the product barcode and the form is then sent directly to the manufacturer or merchant. Regulatory authorities in each state monitor compliance with this obligation and investigate breaches.
Source: official ECHA website (EUROPEAN CHEMICALS AGENCY): echa.europa.eu/de/regulations/reach/understanding-reach