The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) works for the safe use of chemicals. It implements the EU's groundbreaking chemicals legislation, benefiting human health, the environment and innovation and competitiveness in Europe.
What it does
- helps companies comply with specific EU legislation on chemicals or biocides:
- cooperates with international organisations & stakeholders to promote safe use of chemicals
- provides information on chemicals & their safe use through a unique free database
- works with the European Commission & EU governments to identify substances that give cause for concern & take decisions on EU-level risk management
- encourages innovation in the chemical industry by replacing substances that give cause for concern
ECHA’s Executive Director manages the day-to-day work and reports to a Management Board comprising representatives of:
- all EU countries
- the European Commission
- the European Parliament
The Board also has observers from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Read more about ECHA's organisational structure
How it works
The European Chemicals Agency regulates chemicals and biocides on the EU market. It processes files on chemicals from industry and examines them to see if they comply with legislation. Together with the EU national governments, ECHA focuses on the most hazardous substances, in cases where further risk management might be needed to protect people and the environment. In specific areas, it takes its own decisions; in others, it gives opinions and advice to help the European Commission take decisions.
ECHA works with almost 100 accredited stakeholder organisations across the EU.
It provides dedicated support to small and medium-sized companies.
- Members of the public & the environment are less exposed to hazardous chemicals & benefit from safer products. Consumers can ask about hazardous chemicals in the products they buy.
- Workers & other users of chemicals benefit from improved information about the hazards of chemicals they handle, & how to use them safely.
- Industry is helped to comply with legislation. Innovative companies can take advantage of the need to phase out the most hazardous substances.
- Developing countries receive information on how to handle hazardous chemicals safely.