Understanding REACH

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union regulation that was established in 2006. It was adopted to help keep people and the environment safe from the risks associated with chemicals while simultaneously making the EU chemicals industry more competitive. Additionally, it promotes the use alternative hazard assessment methods to reduce animal testing.

What falls under REACH?

All chemical substances are covered under REACH, including those used for industrial processes as well as ones found in cleaning products, appliances, clothing, furniture and paint. As a result, it is relevant to companies across the EU.

REACH - Avery Dennison

Taking responsibility for safety

Under REACH, the burden of proof falls on companies that are manufacturing or importing a chemical substance. Compliance requires identifying and managing the risks associated with such substances when they are manufactured or imported and sold in the EU. Additionally, companies must demonstrate how these substances can be safely used – and how this is communicated to users – to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

How REACH works

Procedures for collecting and assessing information related to the hazards and properties of different substances have been established through REACH and its registration and evaluation processes. Companies must work together on registering the same substance so they can be evaluated by ECHA and EU member states to see if the risks of any particular substance can be managed. If this is not possible, a substance may be banned, restricted or subject to special authorization. Additionally, certain communication requirements apply to finished products, which are also known as articles.

Does REACH affect me? 

REACH affects a range of companies across multiple sectors, including ones that might not typically be associated with chemicals. Importers that buy goods from outside the EU and EEA will likely be impacted, whether they deal with individual chemicals, mixtures intended for sale or finished products like furniture, apparel and plastic goods.

Manufacturers that produce chemicals for their own use, or that of others, will also be affected by REACH, as will downstream users, which consist of companies and individuals that use these substances. 

How does REACH impact labels and labeling? 

REACH requires that suppliers of articles inform consumers and recipients if they contain certain amounts of a restricted Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC). The form of this notification is not specified, but possible options include a website, usage instructions or a label. The notification that an article contains a REACH SVHC must be passed through the rest of the supply chain to the final consumer and to ECHA.

Following REACH

Our products meet the requirements that are part of REACH, so you can purchase them with confidence. If you have any questions, please contact your sales representative.