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What is REACH?

REACH = Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals

REACH is an EU regulation that aims to protect human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals. REACH regulations apply to industrial and consumer chemicals and formulations - as well as the products that contain them - including textiles, clothing and home goods. The regulation restricts substances where risks can not be managed through proper use. REACH is administered by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), an agency of the European Union.

How does REACH work?

Defining methods for gathering and evaluating information on the properties and hazards of substances.

Companies have to register their substances in accordance to the regulation to protect human health and the environment. The individual registrations are received and evaluated by ECHA and the EU Member States to clarify initial concerns. It is their responsibility to assess whether the risk of substances can be managed or not. If the risks are unmanageable according to the committee, they can ban hazardous substances.

How does REACH affect companies?

REACH impacts a wide range of companies across many sectors.
Chemical Manufacturers

Manufacturers who make chemicals for their own use - or to supply to others - most likely have important responsibilities under REACH. These responsibilities are also effective when manufacturers are exporting chemicals from the EU.

Importers to EU

Companies who buy and import anything from outside the EU/EEA, have some responsibilities under REACH. The term "anything" may include:

  • Chemicals
  • Mixtures for onward sale
  • Products, such as furniture, clothes or plastic goods
Downstream Users

In many cases, companies use chemicals and don't realize it. If companies handle chemicals in industrial or professional activity, they most likely have some responsibilities under REACH. Hohenstein's experts can help identify if there is a need to comply with REACH.

How to Comply with REACH

Annex XVII of the REACH regulation restricts chemicals, heavy metals and other substances in consumer products sold in the European Union. In addition, information, disclosure and notification obligations are prescribed for products containing substances of very high concern (SVHC).

The regulation of substances listed in Annex XVII are more complex because there are different constraints for each substance. REACH applies to all chemical substances and has an impact on almost all companies dealing within the EU.

To comply with REACH, companies must identify and manage the risks of substances they manufacture and sell in the EU. They must communicate and demonstrate - to ECHA and the users - how to use the substances safely and how to manage the risks.

If there's no safe way to manage the risks of the substances, authorities can restrict the use. It is recommended to substitute the most hazardous substances with less dangerous ones.

Hohenstein checks if products comply with the restrictions of Annex XVII and the SVHC list. Customers can then take informed steps toward their own compliance.

See also:

It's also important to understand restricted substance lists (RSLs) and substances of very high concerns (SVHCs).

REACH Compliance Support

Annex XVII and the SVHC list provide an overview of restricted substances. It takes time to read through the list and expertise to interpret which substances are restricted for products. This isn't a practical solution. In many cases, it is difficult to know which chemical substances are contained in the products. Testing with Hohenstein integrates customized REACH compliance testing into an overall regulatory and quality program.


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