Another useful primer on REACH – this one from

REACH (the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals law) has started in Europe, and it will fundamentally change the game for industry’s use of materials and chemicals. RoHS was just a dry-run; REACH is the real deal. I recently attended a webinar by Design Chain Associates, an engineering consultancy that helps companies with environmental legislation compliance, that explained the basics of REACH and what its consequences will be for product manufacturers. Here are a few notes from it…

REACH requires all chemicals sold or used in Europe to be registered with the European Chemicals Agency. Manufacturers or distributors must supply the agency with the chemicals’ properties, materials safety data sheets (MSDSes), risk management guidelines, and safety measures for downstream users. Many hazardous chemicals (over 1,500 of them) will require permission from the European Commission to use; some chemicals will not be allowed at all…

There’s no question REACH will have an impact outside the EU; how will it affect you, if you are a product manufacturer or designer? If you produce or import less than a ton of materials in the EU per year, it won’t. For most product manufacturers, be they furniture-makers or computer companies, it will be a matter of sourcing. Just like RoHS compliance was a matter of buying the right components, REACH will be a matter of buying the right components and materials. It will be a messy and uncertain process in the beginning, but the folks running the webinar at Design Chain Associates said companies that stalled on RoHS, waiting for clarity on all aspects, ended up spending more money and taking more risk. If you want guidance, the European Commission has set up a REACH help site; there are also many companies that have done environmental compliance for years, such as Design Chain or WSP Environmental, that will be happy to consult you.

See for the full article.

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