Europe's most ambitious chemicals legislation becomes law
The new European chemicals legislation, REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restrictions of Chemicals) has entered into force, and with it the new European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) starts operations in Helsinki.
The goal of the REACH regulation is to improve protection of human health and the environment while encouraging innovation and keeping the EU's chemical industry competitive.
Commission vice president Gunter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry, said: "The Chemicals Agency will play a key role in the effective implementation of REACH, helping to deliver improved health, and environmental conditions while at the same time maintaining competitiveness and encouraging innovation. The valuable support from Finland in the establishment of the Agency in Helsinki is much appreciated".
Environment commissioner Stavros Dimas added: "With the entry into force of REACH, the EU is providing itself with the most progressive chemicals legislation in the world. Properly setting up the European Chemicals Agency is now the next big step to make sure that REACH will work in practice. Much work remains to be done to protect our health and the environment from the dangers chemicals can pose."
“With the entry into force of REACH, the EU is providing itself with the most progressive chemicals legislation in the world.
Stavros Dimas, Environment Commissioner
REACH is the most ambitious chemicals legislation anywhere in the world combining the ambition for the highest health and environmental protection with enhancing the competitiveness of European industry.
The day-to-day management of the REACH legislation will be within the responsibility of the ECHA.
REACH requires the registration over a period of 11 years of some 30,000 chemical substances in use today, which will be coordinated by the ECHA. This process will allow information gaps on their hazards to be filled and appropriate risk management measures to be identified to ensure their safe use. The onus will be on industry to generate the data required and to identify the measures needed to manage the risks.
The Agency will also run the evaluation of those chemical substances that are suspected of posing a risk to health or the environment and the authorisation system for the use of substances of very high concern, foreseen by REACH .