REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) is the current system for controlling chemicals in Europe. It became law in the UK on 1st June 2007.
For Unico, as a chemical user, REACH is intended to provide more information on chemicals and increase confidence in their safe use. In particular better information on the hazards of chemicals and how to use them safely will be passed down the supply chain by chemical manufacturers and importers through improved Safety Data Sheets. As Unico do not make or import chemicals they have no need to register them.
From 1st December 2008, chemicals that are manufactured or imported into the EU have to be registered with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki. Registration of chemicals will not be effective immediately. If a manufacturer or importer has pre-registered a chemical they may not have to submit a registration for several years. If a manufacturer or importer has not pre-registered or registered a chemical then it is, in most cases illegal to continue to supply that chemical. Unico has contacted suppliers to obtain assurance that they are complying with the REACH requirements and that the chemicals being used are either pre-registered or registered.
Safety Data Sheets will be changed slightly. Once a chemical is registered the safety data sheet will include the registration number. The data sheets will also include exposure scenarios. An exposure scenario describes the operating conditions and risk management measures that have been identified by the supplier as necessary to use the chemical safely in your process. REACH requires you to follow that advice.
Substances of Very High Concern are substances that have hazards with serious consequences (for example they cause cancer or have other harmful properties and/or remain in the environment for a long time with their amounts in animals gradually building up). A list of these substances (SVHC'S) has been published by the ECHA. This list is up-dated periodically. Any supplier of a product containing a SVHC on the list in a concentration above 0.1% (w/w) should provide the recipient of the product with sufficient information to allow safe use of the product including, as a minimum, the name of that substance. This also applies should a consumer request this information and should be provided free of charge within 45 days of receipt of the request. This duty applies as soon as a substance appears on the candidate list.