The REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) chemicals regulation (EC No. 1907/2006) has regulated the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals in the European Union since 1 June 2007. REACH communicates comprehensive data. REACH makes new requirements for manufacturers, importers and users of chemical products: All substances on the European market must be registered and evaluated by the manufacturer or importer if produced or imported with an annual volume of one metric ton or more. The extent of the evaluation depends mainly on the amount produced or imported and the risks to be expected.
The use of particularly hazardous substances may then be regulated by the authorities, through the means of mandatory authorisation (substances of Annex XIV) or a restriction (substances of Annex XVII). Accordingly, they are then subject to an official authorisation procedure or restrictions.
REACH advances environmental and health protection in Europe. Newly-acquired knowledge about chemical substances, particularly with respect to their long-term effects, such as carcinogenic or reprotoxicological properties, and risk management constructed on this basis, should guarantee a higher level of protection of human health and the environment in the future.
- obligates manufacturers and importers to determine the hazardous properties (e.g. poisonous, carcinogenic, environmentally hazardous) of chemicals and to estimate their effects on human health and the environment;
- records the use of substances as components of products;
- prohibits or restricts certain uses of hazardous substances;
- introduces an authorisation and restriction procedure for certain substances of very high concern;
- obligates suppliers to provide information about the hazardous properties and safe uses of the substances;
- obligates commercial users to perform their own safety analysis if the users do not adhere to the recommendations of the manufacturer or the importer; and
- will have an impact that unfolds over the longer term.
In the Defence sector, the companies Nitrochemie (manufacturer, importer, and formulator), Rheinmetall Waffe und Munitions GmbH (formulator and downstream user), Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH (downstream user) and Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH (downstream user) are affected by the REACH regulation.