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REACH - Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of CHemicals

The EU's Council of Ministers and European Parliament adopted REACH on 18th December 2006. It has since been subject to a number of subsequent amendments and adaptations to technical progress, see below.

The full title is "Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and  repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94, as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC".

REACH came into effect on 1 June 2007 when certain requirements applied.

Registration provisions of REACH first applied from 1 June 2008, replacing the current Notification of New Substances (NONS) provisions of the DSD and the requirements of the Existing Substances Regulation (EC) No 793/93. 

Restriction provisions of REACH, see Annex XVII, came into force from 1 June 2009, replacing the requirements of national legislation implementing the 76/769/EEC Restrictions on Marketing and Use Directive (RMUD).

REACH provisions, unlike Directives, have direct legal impact within the EC without the need for Member State (MS) implementing legislation; though MS will need to make some legislation to define the Competent Authority responsibility and the penalties for non-compliance, since enforcement is up to the MS.

The European CHemicals Agency (ECHA), set up by REACH, was established in Helsinki, Finland in June 2008.

For those new to REACH the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/index.htm provides a useful starting place with a number of useful guidance leaflets, and links to the more detailed guidance available.

Those seeking either a broader appreciation, or even specific further information on REACH may well find what they are looking for at https://echa.europa.eu/home.

Also adopted on 18th December 2006 was Directive 2006/121/EC which made consequential amendments to the 67/548/EEC Dangerous Substances Directive (DSD).  This was also published in the OJ L396 of 30.12.2006, with a corrigendum version in the OL L 136 of 29 May 2007.

REACH has been amended and adapted to technical progress many times. A list of amendments and the latest consolidated version of the regulation can be found on the ECHA website at: http://echa.europa.eu/web/guest/regulations/reach/legislation or on the DG GROWTH website at: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/chemicals/legislation/index_en.htm.

Further information and helpful materials on REACH is available to CHCS Members in the Members Only section of this website.


In December 2008 Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 was adopted. This made some immediate and some delayed amendments to REACH, including changes to the SDS requirements set out in Article 31. A file showing REACH Article 31 as amended by CLP has been kindly provided by one of the CHCS members and is available to members in the Members Only area of this website.

This directly acting Regulation aligns previous EU Directive driven legislation on classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals to the UN Recommendations for a Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Its main objectives are to facilitate international trade in chemicals whilst maintaining the previous level of protection of human health and environment. GHS is a United Nations system for the classification of hazardous chemicals, and communication to users of these hazards through standard pictograms and hazard statements and precautionary standards on labels and through safety data sheets (SDS).

CLP has been amended to adapt to technical progress. A list of amendments and the latest consolidated version of the regulation can be found on the ECHA website at: http://echa.europa.eu/web/guest/regulations/clp/legislation or on the DG GROWTH website at: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/chemicals/legislation/index_en.htm. Note: some, but not all, of these adaptations are known by a number reference (e.g. 3rd ATP), but the official texts do not include any such reference.

Page Revised, 24 June 2015. Supersedes: 8 July 2014

In case anyone is in any doubt, REACH is an acronym for Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of CHemicals.

REACH Regulation Round-Up

CHCS are running a REACH Round-Up seminar in February 2015. This CHCS seminar offers a snapshot of the most important aspects of REACH [Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006, as amended], and its practical application, as we enter the final stage of the registration process for phase-in substances.

For more details see our Events page.

REACH Pre-Registration

The main period during which pre-registration of substances previously manufactured or imported into the EU (thus securing a phase in period before full registration will be required) was possible has now closed. In some cases late pre-registration can still be made; see http://echa.europa.eu/reachit/pre-registration-it_en.asp

Pre-registration substance list

ECHA has published a preliminary list of pre-registered substances. This is available at http://echa.europa.eu/information-on-chemicals/pre-registered-substances

REACH Table of Contents

The REACH Regulation is extensive and does not include a useful Table of Contents. CHCS is grateful to Desmond Waight for making available a detailed Table of Contents. This is available from our Members Only REACH page.