10 years of REACH: mission accomplished?

The REACH regulation was launched in 2007. Recently has been evaluated what this European regulation has brought us. The evaluation report showed that the protection of human health and environment has been considerably improved. Following this success, the Commission proposes actions to optimize the implementation of REACH. What does this mean in practice?

What is REACH?

REACH is European regulation which regulates that all substances (new and existing) that enter the European market require prior registration (no data, no market). This has led to a lot of information about more than 17.000 substances in 65,000 registration dossiers.

In the context of REACH, the EU has taken steps to limit or prohibit the use of certain chemicals, which can damage human health or the environment and replace them with safer alternatives. Some examples are:

  • Banning of harmful substances: 18 restrictions have been issued for different groups of chemicals such as chromium, nickel and lead in consumer products, bisphenol A (an hormone-disrupting substance) in receipts, and nonylphenol compounds (toxic to the aquatic environment) in textile products.
  • Replacing the most dangerous (“very worrying”) substances with safer alternatives: up till now, 181 chemical substances have been identified as having serious consequences for human health and the environment, and 43 have been included in the ” authorization list “of REACH. This means that companies must apply for a license to use them and that their use will be phased out, as appropriate alternatives become available.

Quintens is researching with ISA whether the database of 1.8 million articles forms a strong basis to check whether, for example, substances of very high concern still exist in the assortments of DHZ chains, among others. Then it is possible to make a plan to phase out these articles and replace them with more suitable alternatives.

The 10 year REACH evaluation report can be found here.

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