REACH is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. It also promotes alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances in order to reduce the number of tests on animals.
The aim of REACH is to improve the assessment and control of chemical substances and their impacts on human health and the environment by:
- providing a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the use of chemicals
- making the people who place chemicals on the market (manufacturers and importers) responsible for understanding and managing the risks associated with their use)
- allowing the free movement of substances on the EU market
- enhance innovation in and the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry
- promoting the use of alternative methods for the assessment of the hazardous properties of substances eg quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) and read across
This profile provides links to the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation Defence Implementation Process guide, together with a Defence Exemption application form and Defence Chemical Assessment and Reporting guide.
REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, requires all chemical substances, new and existing, that are manufactured or imported into the European Union in a quantity of >1 tonne per year to undergo registration, with a gradual introduction of the obligations through to 2018. The UK REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/2852) came into force in December 2008.
It is the legal responsibility of all defence industry partners to meet their obligations under REACH for their substances. To ensure sustainability of defence operational capabilities, project teams and defence industry partners are urged to contact their suppliers to get assurance that they are aware of REACH and that they have implemented plans to meet their obligations for the products they deliver.
Member states may allow for exemptions from this regulation in specific cases for certain substances, on their own, in a mixture or in an article, where necessary in the interests of defence. In the UK, the Secretary of State may decide that it is necessary in the interests of defence for a person to be exempt from compliance with a listed REACH provision and where justified, may decide to apply the exemption:
- (a) to a person, including the Secretary of State, or a category of persons
- (b) to one or more provision at the same time
- (c) prospectively
- (d) for a limited or unlimited period
- (e) generally or to a particular case
- (f) subject to such limitations and conditions as the Secretary of State sees fit
There is also the provision to enact a defence exemption from the requirement to submit MOD specific information to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in the interests of defence. It should be noted, however, that the MOD policy on exemptions requires that an equivalent REACH process must be carried out, that meets the required outcome of the legislation.
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