What is Reach?
Reach is a EU directive for chemicals and the safe use of chemicals, and applies to registration, evaluation, approval and restriction of substances. Reach replaces several earlier EU chemical directives and supplements other environmental and safety legislation. There are exceptions in the directive that concern chemicals in foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, etc.
How does it affect me?
Reach defines different roles and responsibilities for companies depending on whereabouts the substance is in the supply chain.
The manufacturer or importer of the pure substance is at the top of the chain and is responsible for registering the substance. If the substance is classified as hazardous, then exposure scenarios must also be created for the type of use for which it is to be registered e.g. for use as a spray paint for industrial use.
If more than 1 ton of a chemical substance is manufactured or imported, it must be preregistered in order to be used. If the substance has not been pre-registered, it may not be used until a complete registration has been performed.
Complete registration of a substance shall be performed at the latest by 2010, 2013 or 2018 depending on e.g. the quantity and toxicity.
Companies that do not manufacture or import the pure substance are so-called downstream users and are not responsible for registration if the company does not import the substance from a non-EU country itself and the company purchases more than 1 ton fo the raw material per year.
Preparations do not need to be registered (this includes paints and laquers). However, if you import a preparation form a country outside the EU, you can be responsible for registration.
As a downstream user however, you are responsible for implementing the safety requirements that the supplier has given on the product safety data sheet, or for producing your own chemical safety evaluation.
In order for manufacturers to be able to create exposure scenarious for any hazardious substances used, it is important that we know how the product is to be used, so that we can forward this information.
Further information can be found at
Kemikalieinspektionen(Swedish Chemicals Agency) - www.kemi.se
European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) - echa.europa.eu