What does REACh mean?
REACH is the abbreviation of Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of Chemicals. This is the EU law for handling chemicals as of June 1, 2007 in order to simplify and centralise chemical legislation all over the European Union.
REACh stopped the differentiation between ’existing chemicals’ (phase in substances)’ (chemical substances which where already available on the market before 1981) and ’new chemicals (non phase in substances)’ (chemical substances available after 1981). New chemicals have been tested and the impact regarding their effects on human health and environment is known already before REACh was established. So the risks of these about 4000 new chemicals are quite well known but the knowledge about the risks of the about 100.000 phase in substances should become better with the application of the REACh legislation.
The REACh-system is based on the principle of individual responsibility according to the motto ›No data,no market‹. Chemical substances may only be launched in the EU if there is a sufficient set of data available regarding their material properties (physical properties, toxicity, environmental effects …). This means that the producer or the importer is responsible for the safe handling of his chemical substances. He has to collect the necessary data and has to hand them over in the supply chain.
REACh records all substances which are produced or imported in volumes of 1 ton per year or more in the EU. These substances must be registered at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The quantity of the data that have to be supplied depends on the quantity of the product what will be sold into the market.
Source of this information: http://www.baua.de