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Chemicals are generally to be produced and used in such a way that negative effects on man and the environment remain as low as possible. In September 2002 the states participating in the World Summit in Johannesburg decided that this ambitious target should be reached in 2020. However, in reality the situation is still very different. Sufficient data enabling any conclusions about effects on man and the environment are not available for approximately 95% of the chemicals currently on the market. The situation is also not different in highly industrialised Europe. Information is still missing on many substances that accompany us in our everyday lives. For this reason, a fundamental reform of European chemicals law was launched: REACH.

REACH stands for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals. This new legislation is intended to standardise and simplify chemicals law throughout Europe. At the same time, however, the state of knowledge about the dangers and risks which may be posed by chemicals is to be improved. In the year 2003 the European Commission presented an initial text draft, parts of which have since been discussed quite controversially in the Council and Parliament. The negotiations were successfully concluded on 18th December 2006 and the REACH-Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 30th December 2006.

As the Competent Authority for the notification of new chemical substances and for the notification procedure for existing substances, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health already has a wide range of experience in the recording of data and the assessment of chemical substances. Much of what REACH provides for already corresponds to current practice – in particular with regard to the new chemical substances.

Support regarding the practical implementation of the REACH-Regulation can be found our helpdesk homepage, however mostly in German.