Health and Safety Authority host REACH 10 year anniversary conference

Thursday June 15th

Representatives from chemical companies and safety professionals from around the country attended a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) conference today (June 15th) to mark the 10th anniversary of the EU REACH Regulation. The event took place in the Spencer Hotel, IFSC in Dublin.

The EU REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation entered into force across Europe on June 1st 2007. At the time it replaced over 40 pieces of chemicals legislation with the aim of improving human health, the environment, reducing animal testing, encouraging innovation and keeping the EU’s chemical industry competitive.

Roughly 100 attendees heard from Geert Dancet, Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), who spoke about the positive effects of REACH and his vision for the next 10 years.

Other speakers included representatives from the EU Commission, the HSA, the Irish chemical industry, a Non-Governmental Organisation and a worker representative organisation. They gave accounts of their experiences of REACH so far and what they see as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Over the last 10 years 16,000 chemicals have been registered with ECHA from across Europe including 851 from Ireland. Each registration provides data on the effects of that chemical on human health and the environment and the data is publicly available on ECHA’s website.

Over 170 of those chemicals have been identified as substances of very high concern, and 31 of them now require prior authorisation before they can be used. The use of 64 chemicals has been restricted.

Sharon McGuinness, Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA, and Chair of the ECHA Management Board, said: “Ten years in, the legislation is meeting its objectives. As we enter the next 10 years of REACH, we will have an even better picture of the chemicals used in Europe as the regulatory work continues and particularly when the 2018 final registration deadline is complete.

Ireland and the HSA remain committed to the goals of REACH. We have worked hard to ensure its implementation over the past ten years and will continue to do so in the future.”