The following information has been taken from the official website of the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency,

REACH is the Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It entered into force on 1st June 2007 to streamline and improve the former legislative framework on chemicals of the European Union (EU). REACH places greater responsibility on industry to manage the risks that chemicals may pose to the health and the environment.

The aims of REACH are to:
  • Improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals;
  • Enhance the competitiveness of the European Union chemicals industry;
  • Promote alternative methods for the assessment of hazards of substances;
  • Ensure the free circulation of substances on the internal market of the European Union.
REACH has been designed not to overlap or conflict with the other chemical legislation and makes industry bear most responsibilities to manage the risks posed by chemicals and provide appropriate safety information to their users. In parallel, it foresees that the European Union can take additional measures on highly dangerous substances, where there is a need for complementing action at EU level.

All manufacturers and importers of chemicals must identify and manage risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market. For substances produced or imported in quantities of 1 tonne or more per year per company, manufacturers and importers need to demonstrate that they have appropriately done so by means of a registration dossier, which shall be submitted to the Agency. Once the registration dossier has been received, the Agency may check that it is compliant with the Regulation and shall evaluate testing proposals to ensure that the assessment of the chemical substances will not result in unnecessary testing, especially on animals.

REACH also foresees an authorisation system aiming to ensure that substances of very high concern are adequately controlled, and progressively substituted by safer substances or technologies or only used where there is an overall benefit for society of using the substance.

Manufacturers and importers must provide their downstream users with the risk information they need to use the substance safely. This will be done via the classification and labelling system and Safety Data Sheets (SDS), where needed.

Guidance documents to fulfil REACH obligations

Guidance has been developed over the past few years for industry and the authorities for a smooth implementation of REACH. The guidance documents published and updated are available on the ECHA website.

The list below contains some of the Guidance Documents which are fully available and downloadable from the ECHA website.

Guidance on registration

Reference name: Guidance on registration

This document describes when and how to register a substance under REACH. It consists of two parts: one on Registration tasks and obligations and the other on the preparation of the Registration Dossier. (File: Registration_en; Updated: Jannuary 2011)

Guidance on data sharing

Reference name: Guidance on data sharing

This document describes data sharing mechanisms for phase-in and non phase-in substances under REACH. It includes the communication within the SIEF and the cost sharing guidance. The document also describes the Confidential Business Information and Competition Law issues in the context of data sharing. (File: data_sharing_en; Updated September 2007)

Guidance on requirements for substances in articles

Reference name: Guidance for articles

This document assists producers and importers of articles in identifying whether they have obligations under REACH; in particular in relation to registration and notification according to Article 7, and in relation to article supply chain communication according to Article 33. (File: articles_en; Updated 26/05/08)

Guidance for Downstream Users

Reference name: Guidance for Downstream Users

This document describes the roles and obligations of downstream users, and advises them on how to prepare for the implementation for REACH. (File: du_en; Updated 29/01/08)

Guidance for identification and naming of substances in REACH

Reference name: Guidance on substance identification

This document describes how to name and identify a substance under REACH. (File: substance_id_en; Updated June 2007)

Guidance on how to comply with the provisions of the new Regulation on Classification, Packaging and Labelling of substances and mixtures

Reference name: Guidance on Classification, Packaging and Labelling

These documents aim to assist industry and authorities in implementing Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP Regulation) which integrates the classification and labelling criteria of the United Nations Globally Harmonised System (UN GHS). (Files: clp_introductory_en; clp_en; Updated 25/08/09)

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