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Relationship with other chemicals legislation

REACH and waste materials

Waste is not considered a substance, mixture, or article under REACH and most obligations do not apply to waste. REACH requirements do apply to recovered materials once they are no longer be considered waste however.

There is also an obligation to share information in the supply chain to manage the risks of chemicals in the waste lifecycle stage. This is to clarify the status of recovered materials and to describe the conditions under which recovered substances could still be considered waste.

Once recovered substances cease to be waste, they are again subject to REACH obligations but they can benefit from exemptions.

More on guidance on waste and recovered substances.

Hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment

A Directive (2011/65/EC) on the restriction and use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) was established in 2011. Furthermore, a Common Understanding paper has been prepared with a view to achieving coherence in relation to risk management measures, adopted under REACH and under ROHS.

The common understanding paper is based on the premise that, as regards product-specific legislation on electrical and electronic equipment, RoHS should be given priority in addressing risks pertaining to the use of substances in EEE.

More on the Common Understanding paper (70 kB)

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (the "POP Convention") requires:

  • the prohibition and/or elimination of the production, use, import, and export of chemicals listed under Annex A;
  • a restriction of the production and use of chemicals listed in Annex B.

Proposals may be submitted for listing chemicals in Annex A or B.

A protocol on a convention for long-range trans-boundary air pollution on persistent organic pollutants (the 'POP Protocol') has the same objective and similar mechanisms. The EU is a party to both international instruments.

The POP Convention and POP Protocol are implemented in the EU by means of Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 (the 'POP Regulation').

A Common Understanding paper has been prepared, which examines the relationship between the POP Convention, the POP Regulation and REACH, with regards to restrictions and authorisation requirements.

More on the Common Understanding Paper regarding POPs (83 kB)

Health and safety at work

The legal framework to protect health and safety at work and to prevent work-related accidents and diseases is set out in various directives. Together they form the EU OSH legislation, which is complemented by REACH.

The Guidance for employers on controlling risks from chemicals – Interface between Chemicals Agents Directive and REACH at the workplace provides more detailed information on how employers can meet their obligations under the Chemical Agents Directive and the REACH Regulation.

More on safety and health legislation.

Links with other legislation

REACH defence exemption

In Article 2, paragraph 3, REACH states that EU countries may allow for exemptions from this regulation in specific cases for certain substances, on their own, in a mixture or in an article, where necessary in the interests of defence.

The Ministries of Defence of the EU countries, coordinated by the European Defence Agency (EDA), have developed a code of conduct on REACH defence exemption and an associated technical framework. These are relevant for companies that want to benefit from this exemption.

Other chemical legislation

For more information on other chemicals legislation, see our dedicated page.