The REACH legislation came into force in the European Union on June 1st 2007, replacing the many regulations covering chemicals previously in force. REACH covers substances on their own [including metals, metallic oxides and metallic salts] or in preparations [such as metallic alloys].

REACH ensures a high level of protection of health and the environment and gives EU manufacturers and importers full responsibility for substances that they place on the market.

The European Chemicals Agency [ECHA], located in Helsinki, is responsible for managing the registration, evaluation and authorisation processes to ensure consistency across the EU. Member States will be responsible for the enforcement of the REACH legislation.

REACH affects all EU manufacturers and importers of iron and iron-containing substances and preparations. An importer is in effect the person, company or organisation responsible for the customs clearance when the substance enters the EU. Producers outside the EU and EEA can only register for REACH through a so-called ONLY REPRESENTATIVE.

The period for pre-registration [a prerequisite for continued participation in the EU market from the end of 2008] finished on December 1st 2008. The next stage of the process is for all pre-registrants to come together in SIEF's [Substance Information Exchange Forums, one per substance] at first to agree on "sameness" (i.e., to agree that they are all concerned about the same substance) and then to collaborate in the preparation of the final registrations dossiers.

Compliance with REACH is mandatory for and the responsibility of each EU legal entity manufacturing in or importing qualifying substances or preparations into the EU. Continuation of manufacturing or importing after 2008 without submission of a [pre-] registration dossier constitutes a breach of the regulation.

Registration under REACH must be completed in accordance with a statutory timetable depending mainly on the annual quantity produced or imported.

For more detailed information about REACH, see the LIBRARY and LINKS pages.

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