Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Call to action for chemical users
New EU rules for controlling chemicals will increase confidence in their safe use - but manufacturers, importers and users of chemicals need to get involved now.
People who manufacture in or import chemicals from outside Europe in quantities over one tonne are required to register these chemicals as part of the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals programme (REACH). Under REACH, chemicals will be fully evaluated and controlled to manage risks to people and the environment.
Between 1 June and 1 December 2008, businesses can ease the REACH registration process by pre-registering the chemicals they manufacture or import with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki. Failure to do this may have significant implications because businesses will have to stop manufacturing or importing until they register substances.
Environment Minister Phil Woolas said 'It is important you find out now if these new rules will affect your business.
'Most businesses use chemicals and many rely on them without realising it - such as paints, metals, insulation or cleaning materials.
'If you think you need to register chemicals, take advantage of the opportunity to pre-register before 1 December year. It makes good business sense.'
Notes for Editors
1. The EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals Regulation, known as REACH, became law across the EU on 1 June 2007. Because it is an EU Regulation, it applies directly in each Member State (including the UK). The European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki (ECHA) is managing the implementation of REACH across the European Union, see: http://echa.europa.eu/home_en.asp
2. In the UK, the REACH Competent Authority (hosted by the Health and Safety Executive) is responsible for overseeing the operation of REACH. For comprehensive information on REACH, see: http://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/
3. The first step is for people to pre-register substances already being manufactured in, or supplied from outside the EU in quantities over one tonne. The pre-registration period is between 1 June and 1 December 2008.
4. Pre-registering during this time means people can take advantage of a phased registration process at a later date. Those who don't pre-register will have to fully register their chemicals straight after 1 December, or chemicals will be withdrawn from the market until they are fully registered.
5. Pre-registration means supplying a few pieces of basic information to the Chemicals Agency in Helsinki. Registration requires putting together a comprehensive dossier of data about the substance.
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