REACH – Regulating chemicals in Europe

I’ve recently produced a brief presentation summarising the main requirements of REACH

A version with some explanatory notes is available on Slideshare.

REACH is the most important piece of legislation on the control of chemicals for a long time, certainly since COSHH was introduced in 1988. The Regulations are going to have a major impact on what chemicals are produced and the way they are controlled. Although the driving force for their introduction was pressure from the environmental lobby, their main implications are for the use of chemicals in the workplace.

At the moment its chemical manufacturers and importers who are affected – the registration process is well underway. Industry in general aren’t affected and, in my experience, most small and medium-sized companies don’t know much about the Regulations and what they will mean for their business. This will change when the requirements on “downstream users” start to come into force.

I don’t think most occupational hygienists in the UK have been affected too much by REACH yet. A minority who work for chemical manufacturers have been involved in the registration process and some consultants have also been engaged to help with this and in carrying out risk characterisations for exposure scenarios and generation of extended data sheets. However, I’m sure that most members of the profession will be involved in helping “downstream users” to meet their obligations in the not too distant future. So its important that we make sure we know about REACH and keep up to date on the technical developments.

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