The final date for registering chemical substances under the EU chemicals legislation REACH is on 31 May 2018. After that date, substances produced or imported in quantities reaching one tonne or more per year per manufacturer or importer that are not registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) can no longer be placed on the EU market.
Companies that export to the EU cannot register substances themselves, but their EU-based importers must do that. To complete the registration dossier, the EU-importer will need detailed information on the composition and the properties of the chemical substance, which will need to be provided by the exporting company. Alternatively, the exporting company can also appoint a so-called "Only Representative", who must be based in the EU, to submit the registration on his behalf. In both cases, the exporting company must be prepared to provide the information that is required for the registration. Companies that need to register the same substance must share data and related costs and submit most of the information jointly.
Adopted in December 2006, REACH reversed the burden of proof on the safe use of chemicals. It is now up to companies to demonstrate that the chemicals they manufacture or import in the EU can be used safely and do not cause unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. The companies' findings and conclusions are recorded in a registration dossier that is submitted to ECHA.
The information in the registration dossiers is used for further regulatory processes and published on the ECHA's website. This helps European and non-EU companies, authorities and citizens to make informed decisions on chemicals they use or that they may be exposed to.
The ECHA's website contains extensive information on REACH and other EU chemicals legislation: Leaflet "Do you export to the European Union?", REACH registration 2018, and ECHA information on chemicals.
Companies can also directly contact ECHA for more information: https://echa.europa.eu/contact