REACH is a new European Union regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals. It entered into force on 1 June 2007 and replaced a single system, a set of European Directives and Regulations.
REACH has several purposes:
To provide a high level of protection against the use of chemicals for human health and the environment.
To hold those who place chemicals on the market (manufacturers and importers) accountable for understanding and managing the risks associated with their use.
To allow the free movement of substances on the EU market.
To increase innovation and competitiveness in the EU chemicals sector.
Promote the use of alternative methods for the assessment of hazardous properties of substances; eg. quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) and reading.
REACH applies to substances produced or imported in the EU in quantities of 1 tonne or more per year. In general, it applies to all chemicals, their mixtures, or the situation in which they are present in the article (if the substance is intended to be released from an article under normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions of use).
Some items are specifically excluded:
Items subject to customs inspection
Transport of goods
Some naturally occurring low hazardous substances
Some articles in more specific legislation have special provisions, including:
Human and veterinary drugs
Food and food additives
Plant protection products and biocides
Other substances have adapted the provisions of REACH legislation, as long as they are used in the specified conditions:
Substances used for research and development