REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) is a European Community regulation that came in to force on the 1st of June 2007. It was introduced to regulate the manufacture, supply and use of chemicals and replaced several individual regulations.
Under REACH all chemical substances that are marketed in quantities of one tonne or more per year will need to be registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Finland annually.
The Regulation gives greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances. Manufacturers and importers will be required to gather information on the properties of their chemical substances, which will allow their safe handling, and to register the information in a central database run by the ECHA.
It also requires that users (who are not the manufacturer) of chemicals check that the use of the chemicals they are using has been assessed. If the use has not been assessed they must either stop using the chemical or they must make sure the chemical gets assessed either by informing the supplier of the use or by conducting an assessment themselves.
The Regulation also calls for the progressive substitution of the most dangerous chemicals when suitable alternatives have been identified.