Waking up to REACH: Global companies weigh risks and rewards of Europe’s newest law on the safe use of chemicals

Despite a November 30 deadline for taking steps to comply, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ survey shows awareness of REACH is low, especially outside Europe and the chemicals industry. Failure to meet the terms of this European regulation could lead to a ban on exports to the EU and is a growing concern to EU-based companies.

What is REACH?

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals—REACH—became law on June 1, 2007, to streamline and improve the former legislative framework on chemicals of the European Union (EU). REACH places greater responsibility on industry to manage the risks that chemicals may pose to health and the environment.

In principle, REACH applies to all chemicals, not only chemicals used in industrial processes but also in products such as cleansers, paints and appliances that touch our day-to-day lives.