Home → Updates → Legal → Regulation (EU) 2021/979 amending Annexes VII to XI to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
Regulation (EU) 2021/979 amending Annexes VII to XI to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
Jurisdiction: Northern Ireland & EU
Commencement: 8th January 2022
- Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
The Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) incorporate the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. Duties are placed primarily on the manufacturers and importers of chemical substances. There are also duties and restrictions on downstream users of some very hazardous chemicals.
REACH is a directly acting Regulation, meaning that it has direct application in European Union (EU) Member States, and breach of the Regulation can be prosecuted by national regulators. They also continue to be directly enforceable in Northern Ireland (under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol). Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the REACH Regulation was copied (with amendments) into law in Great Britain and a separate version of REACH is now enforceable in Great Britain.
Application to substances
REACH concerns all chemical substances whether they are hazardous or not. However, some substances are not covered by REACH including radioactive substances and waste. Substances going into food stuffs and medicines are exempted from the majority of the requirements under REACH.
The REACH Regulation complements Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (the CLP Regulation). Both apply duties primarily to manufacturers, importers and suppliers. Organisations involved in the manufacture and supply of chemicals need to be familiar with both Regulations. There are also some more limited implications for downstream users.
Organisations that manufacture chemicals or import them from outside the EU in quantities of 1 tonne or more (whether or not it is hazardous) have a duty to gather information on the properties of the substance and register the information in a central database managed by the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”). An organisation which manufactures or places substances on the market without registering them commits an offence.
Manufacturers and suppliers must provide information to customers about any hazardous properties of the substances that they manufacture or supply. This duty is usually complied with by supplying Safety Data Sheets.
Very hazardous substances
One of the objectives of REACH is to restrict and ultimately phase out the use of some of the most hazardous substances (see “substances of very high concern” below). In pursuance of this objective and in accordance with REACH, the ECHA maintains lists of ‘substances of very high concern’. Manufacturers, suppliers and downstream users must apply to the ECHA for authorisation to manufacture, supply or use some of these substances, and there are specific restrictions which apply to some listed substances. Eventually, the EU will prohibit entirely the manufacture, supply and use of some of these most hazardous substances.
There has been a phased implementation programme for the requirements under REACH. Many of the implementation dates have already passed. For information, the key implementation dates are listed below.
- June 2008: ECHA to become operational;
- June to November 2008: Pre-registration of phase-in substances;
- December 2010: Registration deadline for substances in quantities of over 1000 tonnes and certain carcinogens, mutagens and chemicals toxic to reproduction;
- June 2013: Registration deadline for substances in quantities of over 100 tonnes; and
- June 2018: Registration deadline for substances in quantities of over 1 tonne.
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