Last checked : 15/03/2018

Chemicals (REACH)

UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information

As of 30 March 2019, all EU law will cease to apply to the UK, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, or the European Council and the UK decide unanimously to extend the two-year negotiation period. For more information about the legal repercussions for businesses:

If you manufacture or import one tonne or more per year of a chemical substance in the European Economic Area (European Union + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), you must record this in the REACH database. REACH stands for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals.

REACH applies to all chemical substances, both those needed for industrial processes and those we use in our everyday lives, in paints, cleaning products, clothes, furniture and electrical appliances, for example. It thus affects most businesses in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Non-registered substances must not be marketed or used.

REACH applies to you if your business is:

To comply with the regulation, you must identify and manage the risks associated with the substances you manufacture and market in the EU/EEA.

As a manufacturer or importer registering such substances, you must show the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) how they can be used safely and use a safety data sheet to inform potential users in the supply chain of any risk management measures they may need to take.

If your business is a downstream user, you have different obligations to meet. The main one is to take any risk management measures detailed in the safety data sheets. Check that your uses are covered in the registration dossiers and make contact with your suppliers and users in the supply chain.

Use the ECHA Navigator to identify your role and obligations under REACH or any exemptions that may apply to your business.

The booklet 'Chemical safety in your business' gives a good summary of the issues relevant to small businesses.

How REACH works

REACH introduces new marketing rules, covering substances in isolation, mixtures and substances used in goods. It ensures that industry takes responsibility for:

It also enables the European Union to take additional measures if complementary action at EU level is needed. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki, Finland helps coordinate and implement all the necessary steps:

Fees and charges

REACH requires fees and charges to be paid. The amounts charged and deadlines for payment depend on the type of submission concerned. Small and medium-sized enterprises pay reduced fees. Your business will also need to take into account other costs associated with REACH, including:

You can reduce your costs significantly through close cooperation with the other parties involved, including preparing in good time.

See also:

Related topics

EU legislation

Public consultations

Need support from assistance services?

Get in touch with specialised assistance services

Product Contact Point

Your Product Contact Point can inform you on national product legislation and help you access another national market in the EU.

National helpdesks for chemicals

The national helpdesks are your first contact point on questions related to your obligations under the CLP and REACH Regulations.

Local business support - Do you have questions on operating a business cross-border, for example exporting or expanding to another EU country? If so, the Enterprise Europe Network can give you free advice.

Share this page: