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Key players

REACH

  • European Commission: The European Commission plays an important role in ensuring the implementation of the REACH Regulation. It also adopts measures to update and complete the Regulation. These measures comprise authorisation decisions; new restrictions to deal with unacceptable risks of particular chemicals; laying down test methods; and determining the fees companies pay to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
  • European Chemicals Agency: The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) ensures the effective management of the technical, scientific, and administrative aspects of REACH. ECHA provides information on REACH to companies and the general public. It also develops IT tools and guidance documents to support industry and public authorities in fulfilling their obligations under REACH. A wide range of information is available through the ECHA’s website, including legislative texts, summaries of the legislation, press materials, brochures, guidance documents, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and links to national helpdesks. A database covering hazardous properties, classification, and information on how to use registered substances safely is also publicly available.
  • National Authorities: National authorities are responsible for enforcing REACH by establishing official controls and penalties for non-compliance. They exchange information and coordinate their enforcement activities through the Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement.
  • Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL): This expert group advises the Commission and ECHA on the implementation of REACH and CLP. The group is composed of representatives of national Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP, representatives of Competent Authorities of the European Economic Area and European Free Trade Association (EEA-EFTA countries), as well as a number of observers from non-EU countries, stakeholders from industry and trade associations, NGOs, trade unions, and international organisations. For further information, see the Register of Commission Expert Groups.
    • Publicly available documents from the CARACAL meetings can be found on the CircaBC platform (no registration or login required) under the group called "CARACAL documents". Click here for direct access and consult the Library.

International aspects

The chemicals industry is a global industry and this requires that the Commission works with a number of international bodies:

  • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) promotes effective policies and tools for protecting human health and the environment. It offers support tools for information gathering, testing, and the assessment and management of the safety of chemicals and pesticides. The Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) scheme across different jurisdictions greatly reduces the costs.

The Commission provides significant financial support to the OECD Chemicals Programme and actively participates in its work.

  • United NationsEnvironment Programme (UNEP)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Chemicals Branch is the centre for all the chemicals-related activities of the United Nations Environment Programme. It also promotes the UN system for global action on the environmentally sound management of chemicals, e.g. through SAICM (Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management) and the Basel, Stockholm, Rotterdam, and Minamata Conventions.

Both the Commission and EU countries have provided significant support to UNEP Chemicals. Further information

  • World Trade Organisation (WTO)

The REACH Regulation has been notified to the WTO and its Members under the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBC) Agreement (reference G/TBT/N/EEC/52).

Further information can be found on the Technical Barriers to Trade database and on the WTO website.

  • Bilateral activities

The Commission holds dialogues with important trade partners such as Japan to exchange information about implementing REACH and legislation relating to chemicals in the countries concerned.

Discussions on chemicals regulation are also held within the context of Free Trade Agreement negotiations. These help identify the extent to which the agreement can be mutually beneficial for the EU and non-EU countries.

  • European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA)

The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) promotes the development and implementation of methods to replace, reduce and refine animal testing (known as the '3Rs'). It also promotes modern approaches in safety testing.

The EPAA is a public-private partnership between the Commission, European trade associations from various industry sectors, and individual companies. Its activities include:

  • mapping and disseminating information about in-house methods and research programmes
  • supporting the development of alternative approaches and testing strategies
  • removing barriers to validation and regulatory acceptance of the '3Rs'
  • holding dialogues with regulators on 3Rs and testing requirements

CLP key players

The European Commission

The European Commission periodically updates the CLP legislation, mostly to adapt the Annex of CLP on harmonised classification and to align CLP to Revisons of the UN GHS.

The Commission is also involved in:

  • following GHS updates
  • harmonising the information flow to poison centres.

In these tasks, the Commission is supported by a Regulatory Committee composed of representatives from all EU countries, responsible for CLP and REACH. In parallel, CLP implementation issues are discussed in the group of Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL).

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

  • Provides technical and scientific guidance on classification criteria, and on labelling and packaging requirements
  • Provides EU countries and EU institutions with scientific and technical advice on chemicals
  • Receives notifications for hazardous substances and publishes them through the Classification & Labelling (C&L) inventory
  • Handles requests for the use of an alternative chemical name (CLP Article 24)
  • Receives proposals for harmonised classification and labelling of substances. Its Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) adopts an opinion on these proposals
  • Manages HelpNet, the network of national CLP Helpdesks.

UN – Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) subsidiary bodies

The Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS (SCE GHS) is:

  • acting as custodian of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), managing and giving direction to the harmonisation process
  • developing the system (revisions)
  • promoting understanding and implementation of the system.

Read more on UN ECOSOC Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS