REACH is the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It entered into force in 2007, replacing the former legislative framework for chemicals in the EU.
REACH shifts the responsibility from public authorities to industry with regards to assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals and providing appropriate safety information for their users. It impacts on a wide range of companies across many sectors beyond the chemical industry. It requires new forms of cooperation among companies, enhancing communication along the supply chain, as well as developing tools to guide and assist companies and public authorities in its implementation.
The main aims of REACH are to ensure a high level of protection for human health and the environment, including the promotion of alternative test methods, as well as the free circulation of substances on the internal market and the enhancement of competitiveness and innovation.
The European Commission plays a key role in implementing REACH legislation and in taking decisions on a number of REACH processes.
In particular, the Commission plays a key role in the authorisation process as it determines the substances subject to authorisation and decides whether to grant authorisation. It also adopts EU wide restrictions. In recent years, the Commission has reviewed a number of REACH Annexes (186 KB).
The Commission has prepared implementing legislation, necessary to implement provisions of REACH such as:
In these tasks, the Commission is supported by a regulatory Committee composed of representatives from all EU countries.
REACH implementation issues are discussed by the Expert Group of Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL).
The Commission provides advice on key issues related to the interpretation of REACH and supports ECHA in its tasks, including drafting guidance documents and helpdesk questions for ECHA and the REACH helpdesk network.
The Commission has representatives in the Management Board of ECHA and may participate in meetings of the Committees of the Agency.
The Commission works closely with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and national authorities in the implementation of the REACH regulation.
Read more about key players.
The REACH Regulation provides for regular reporting by the Commission to monitor progress in the achievement of the objectives of the Regulation.
The next report is due in 2017 and will be an evaluation conducted under the REFIT programme of the Commission.
Roadmap for the 2017 REACH REFIT evaluation (published on 18 May 2016)
Stakeholder consultation is an important element of the REACH REFIT evaluation. The consultation strategy provides additional details about the consultation objectives, activities and tools planned.
In 2013, the Commission published the first review of REACH, a broad assessment of the first five years of REACH, paying special attention to the impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovation, administrative burdens, and costs. In its review, the Commission concluded that no major overhaul of the legislation is required before the last registration deadline of 2018. It proposed recommendations to improve the operation of REACH, which are now being implemented.
More on Reach Review 2013 (222 KB).
In 2013, the Commission proposed a roadmap to identify all relevant Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) for their inclusion on the REACH candidate list by 2020.
The roadmap aimed to increase transparency and predictability for the identification of SVHC. It is now being implemented in cooperation with EU countries and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
More on the REACH Roadmap
Since 2007, the Commission has been adopting EU measures and updating the technical annexes of REACH in a number of areas, notably in the authorisation and restriction chapters
A number of events are held to discuss key issues relating to the implementation of the REACH Regulation.