What’s All About REACH?

Initiated by the European Union, REACH aims at protecting Human health from hazardous chemicals in their environment and at the same time increasing the competition level of the European Union chemical producing companies. The European Union sees the use of animals to test chemicals as detrimental to wildlife so some regulations were created under REACH to curb not only the method of chemical assessment but some other irregularities associated with the use of chemicals.

You might start REACH regulations cover only chemicals used or produced during industrial processes well, that is not the case. REACH regulations apply to all kinds of chemical substances for example; chemicals used in our day-to-day cleaning activities, chemicals used in clothes, furniture dressing, and painting. REACH affects every company across the European Union using chemicals in production.

As an acronym representing Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals, REACH was founded on 1 June 2007. This regulation places the burden of proof on chemical producing industries what does this mean? Companies must abide by REACH regulations and in doing so, these companies are expected to identify the risks associated with the products they market in the European Union and adequately enlighten the consumers on how to use these products safely. To monitor the compliance rate, the companies are supervised by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

ECHA is responsible for the evaluation of chemical-producing industries in the European Union for their adherence to REACH regulations. Industries are expected to tender their products to ECHA alongside some authorities for proper scrutinization. The Authorities will now go through the products to know if they are suitable for human use and if the risks mentioned can be managed. The authorities have the right to ban any product that they feel isn’t suitable for human use.

Manufacturers, importers, and downstream users all have different roles to play under REACH.

Manufacturers: companies that produce chemicals either for industrial or domestic use, all have roles to play under REACH.

Importers: if you purchase something that contains chemicals like clothes, furnished furniture, and the likes outside the European Union, you also have a role to play under REACH.

Downstream users: some industries make use of some products without realizing the product comprises chemicals. Industries like this have responsibilities under REACH.

New Additions to REACH and Purposes for Additions

Due to their toxicity to reproduction, endocrine, and human health generally, four substances have been added to REACH’s candidate list by ECHA. Below are the substances added and specific reasons for their addition.

Countries Looking to Implement the REACh Regulation

Several countries are willing to implement the REACH regulatory frameworks to maintain discipline in their chemical businesses. Under the auspices of the IPA program initiated by the European Union, Serbia and Croatia are a step forward to adopting REACH.

Swiss Chemical Ordinance’s revision in 2009 gave Switzerland a head start towards the implementation of the framework. Turkey and China which are major chemical-dealing countries are also looking for a way to adopt this framework. Other countries looking to implement REACH regulations include; India, Taiwan.

A quick summary of existing REACH Regulations in other countries

Some countries have existing regulations. Let’s have a look at these countries, their regulations, and their comparison with REACH.


ChemO which was the regulatory board for chemical production and sale in Switzerland was partially revised in 2009. This revision led to the adoption of REACH’s registration requirements. When compared to REACH, ChemO is still a pre-marketing program. With the subsequent revision of ChemO, it’s most likely going to be exactly like REACH in no time.


Japan makes use of The Chemical Substances Control Law (CSCL) for the regulation of chemical trading activities. The CSCL was established in 1973 to minimize chemical-related issues arising in the country. When compared to REACH, REACH has a different and better risk evaluation process. Frequent amendments of the CSCL will make its evaluation risk just like REACH.


Turkey makes use of the by-law to regulate chemical management in the country. The by-law aims at improving market visibility and also eradicating chemical-related violations. The by-law was amended in 2009. When compared with REACH, Turkey’s by-law focuses mainly on the substances neglecting other factors that are supposed to be considered. Frequent amendments with make by-law consider other factors just like REACH.


Canada’s Chemistry Management Plan aims at a thorough review of chemicals to create proper risk management for them. CMP was initiated in 2009 and has not been amended ever since. When compared to REACH, Canada’s CMP focuses mainly on prioritizing chemicals neglecting other important factors that are supposed to be considered. Amendments will make CMP consider these important factors.

How can APA Engineering assist

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