REACH, Chemicals and You

A recent article on the Breast Cancer UK website mentions the EU regulations with regard to the use of harmful chemicals and how EU regulations aim to protect from the use of harmful chemicals.

"Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of CHemicals" is known as REACH and was introduced in June 2007. On the Health and Safety Executive website, there is a list of aims for the regulation which include providing a high level of protection for human health and environmental protection as well as making manufacturers AND importers responsible for understanding and managing any risks.

A case in point:

" ... Polychlorinated hydrocarbons (PCBs), which are linked to breast cancer, were once used widely in products like electrical goods, paper, and flame resistant coatings. It took several decades to build up enough evidence to get them banned. Because PCBs are persistent pollutants in our environment, which bio-accumulate (build up inside cells), humans and animals are still being exposed to them today"

(Source: )

REACH is a constantly evolving piece of legislation having been amended 38 times since its enactment in 2006, although relatively little of it has been transposed into UK law.

There is a danger that UK consumers could lose the protection of REACH during the Brexit negotiations. That said, many UK firms are a long way along the road to making sure the chemicals contained in their products are compliant and will need to continue to do so, in order to continue to sell product in the remaining EU States. Some in the (UK) chemical industry regard REACH as being most burdensome for small and medium size businesses.

Let us hope that the Brexit negotiators are careful and retain the same standards in the UK as REACH does in the EU.

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