REACH is the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It entered into force in 2007, replacing the former legislative framework for chemicals in the EU.
REACH shifts the responsibility from public authorities to industry with regards to assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals and providing appropriate safety information for their users. It impacts on a wide range of companies across many sectors beyond the chemical industry. It requires new forms of cooperation among companies, enhancing communication along the supply chain, as well as developing tools to guide and assist companies and public authorities in its implementation.
Objectives of REACH
The main aims of REACH are to ensure a high level of protection for human health and the environment, including the promotion of alternative test methods, as well as the free circulation of substances on the internal market and the enhancement of competitiveness and innovation.
What the European Commission does
The European Commission plays a key role in implementing REACH legislation and in taking decisions on a number of REACH processes.
In particular, the Commission plays a key role in the authorisation process as it determines the substances subject to authorisation and decides whether to grant authorisation. It also adopts EU wide restrictions. In recent years, the Commission has reviewed a number of REACH Annexes (186 KB).
The Commission has prepared implementing legislation, necessary to implement provisions of REACH such as:
- regulation on fees, which sets fees to be paid by industry for registration and applications for authorisation
- regulations on the arrangements for the Board of Appeal of the European Chemicals Agency
- regulation on test methods.
In these tasks, the Commission is supported by a regulatory Committee composed of representatives from all EU countries.
REACH implementation issues are discussed by the Expert Group of Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL).
The Commission provides advice on key issues related to the interpretation of REACH and supports ECHA in its tasks, including drafting guidance documents and helpdesk questions for ECHA and the REACH helpdesk network.
The Commission has representatives in the Management Board of ECHA and may participate in meetings of the Committees of the Agency.
- REACH legislation
- Guidance and archives (70 kB)
- Review of REACH Regulation Annexes (186 kB)
- Understanding REACH (ECHA)
Who are the key players?
The Commission works closely with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and national authorities in the implementation of the REACH regulation.
Read more about key players.
Second REACH Review (REACH REFIT evaluation)
The REACH Regulation requires that the Commission regularly reports on progress in the achievement of the Regulation's objectives.
The Commission has published the second review of REACH on 5 March 2018, which includes a Commission report on the operation of REACH and a comprehensive evaluation report. The evaluation has been conducted under the Commission’s REFIT programme. The REACH Review (REACH REFIT Evaluation)built on the findings of the first REACH Review (2013) and examined key developments since then.
Evaluation of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
The final report of the evaluation of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and its annexes were commissioned by the Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. This evaluation study was performed by Deloitte and VVA. The study is one of other studies carried out in the framework of REACH REFIT evaluation
Objective and scope of the study
The objective is to evaluate the performance of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) following the better regulation EU evaluation guidelines.
The scope of the evaluation covers the full range of ECHA’s operations and processes under the REACH, CLP, BPR and PIC Regulations. This evaluation is based on the assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of ECHA’s work.
The evaluation of ECHA was based on a comprehensive analytical framework. It comprised the evaluation questions and their respective judgement criteria, indicators and information sources.
The data collection tools used to gather the relevant information consisted of:
- document review
- stakeholder interviews
- an online company survey
- a comparative analysis with similar EU Agencies
- a targeted process analytics exercise
REACH Review 2013
In 2013, the Commission published the first review of REACH. This was a broad assessment of the first five years of REACH, paying special attention to the impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In its review, the Commission concluded that no major overhaul of the legislation will be required before the last registration deadline of 2018. Proposed recommendations to improve the operation of REACH are now being implemented now.
More on Reach Review 2013 (222 kB).
SVHC Roadmap (Substances of Very High Concern)
In 2013, the Commission proposed a roadmap to identify all relevant substances of very high concern (SVHC) for their inclusion on the REACH candidate list by 2020.
The roadmap aimed to increase transparency and predictability for the identification of SVHC. It is now being implemented in cooperation with EU countries and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
More on the REACH Roadmap
Authorisation and Restriction
Since 2007, the Commission has been adopting EU measures and updating the technical annexes of REACH in a number of areas, notably in the authorisation and restriction chapters
Read more on how REACH works and restrictions
A number of events are held to discuss key issues relating to the implementation of the REACH Regulation.
- See specific sectoral guidance notices for stakeholders
- ECHA: Guidance of the European Chemicals Agency on impact of Brexit