The Reach legislation in brief
The European REACH regulation, from the acronym “Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals”, requests the registration of all substances produced or imported into the European Union in quantities greater than one ton per year. This registration consists in the presentation of some basic information on the characteristics of the substances and, in the absence of available data, in the execution of experimental tests to characterize the relative physical-chemical, toxicological and environmental properties.
The regulation established the European Chemical Agency (ECHA – European Chemical Agency), which ensures the management of the technical, scientific and administrative aspects of the REACH regulation, provides information to the public and businesses and develops and adopts IT support tools. and technical guidance documents.
In Italy, the administrations involved in the implementation of the REACH regulation at national level are: the Ministry of Health as competent authority, the Ministry of the Environment and the Protection of the Territory and the Sea and the Ministry of Economic Development. For the technical-scientific support, the administrations indicated make use of the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), and the Higher Institute of Health (ISS-CNSC).
The aim of the regulation, which entered into force on 1 June 2007, is to guarantee a high level of protection of human health and the environment, promote alternative methods for assessing the dangers of substances and the free movement of substances in the internal market. while improving competitiveness and innovation. To achieve its objectives, the regulation requires an active involvement, at different levels, of all the actors in the supply chain. Downstream users must be aware of the impact that each procedure of the REACH regulation can have on their activities and evaluate how they could collaborate for the better functioning of the whole system.
Reach for upstream manufacturers and downstream users
The downstream user is a specific role defined by the REACH regulation. Downstream users are companies or individuals who make use of a chemical as such or incorporated into a mixture in the course of their professional or industrial activities.
The burden of providing evidence relating to the safety of chemicals is the responsibility of manufacturers, importers and downstream users: they must ensure that their production and use of chemicals are not harmful to human health or the environment.
The registrant, must carry out the chemical safety assessment for the substances he intends to register, and must understand how the substance is used along the entire supply chain; downstream users have the right to disclose their uses to the supplier in order to identify, evaluate and treat them in a substance registration dossier.
The downstream user must comply with the conditions identified in the chemical safety report and communicate them via the safety data sheet (SDS). Therefore it is in the interest of the downstream user to communicate promptly and effectively with the supplier.
The downstream user must apply the appropriate risk control measures, which are indicated on the substance safety sheet. It must therefore verify, how this substance is used in your company, and what the current and foreseeable use of its related products is, also with customers. If uses not foreseen by the safety data sheet are detected, the user will have to take further actions to recover from this anomaly.