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History and Background

History of the adoption process for the new chemicals legislation

On 13th February, 2001, the European Commission adopted a White Paper setting out the strategy for a future Community Policy for Chemicals.

The European Commission's original legislative proposal on REACH COM(03) 644 (01) and COM(03) 644 (02) amending Directive 67/548/EEC was adopted on 29 October 2003 and was communicated to both the European Parliament and the Council in November 2003.

The work in the European Parliament has been led by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health & Food Safety, with – in first reading - the assistance of nine other parliamentary committees. The European Parliament adopted its first reading opinion on 17 November 2005.

The Council reached a Political Agreement for a Common Position (pdf 865KB) on 13 December 2005.

The Environment Council formally adopted the Common Position (pdf 1,7MB) (press release - pdf 312KB) on June 2006 which served as the basis of discussion during the second reading in the European Parliament, which started in September 2006.

A Commission Communication on the Common Position (COM (2006) 375) was adopted on 12 July 2006 and submitted to the European Parliament and Council allowing the second reading to commence.

The representatives of the European Parliament and the Council found a negotiated agreement of the final version of REACH in early December 2006. This agreement was subsequently endorsed at second reading in the European Parliament on 13 December 2006 (press release) and got finally adopted at the Environment Council on 18 December 2006 (press release).

The text of the law was published on 30 December 2006 in the Official Journal of the European Union L 396.

The new EU chemicals Regulation REACH entered into force on 1 June 2007 (press release). The new European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki, Finland, will be fully operational on 1 June 2008, in time for the industry's obligation to submit pre-registration dossiers for existing substances and registration dossiers for new substances.