The regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) was adopted by the European Union (EU) in 2006 to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemical industry. REACH also promotes alternative methods for hazard assessment of substances in order to reduce animal testing.
In principle, REACH applies to all chemical substances, not only those used in industrial processes but also those that are present in our day-to-day lives, for example in cleaning products, paints,i clothing, furniture and electrical appliances. The regulation therefore impacts most companies across the EU.
REACH places the burden of proof on companies. To comply with the regulation, companies must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. They have to demonstrate how the substances can be used safely, and they must communicate risk management measures to the users.
Chemical Leasing and REACH share the same philosophy of sharing the costs, benefits, responsibility and know-how between chemical suppliers and users. Like Chemical Leasing, REACH aims to impact a wide range of companies across many sectors, including manufacturers, importers, exporters and downstream users.
Chemical Leasing further secures compliance with the obligation or duty to handle chemicals with care. This implies that chemicals and their applications are not only monitored but also managed with maximum accuracy. Chemical Leasing is also an effective tool for demonstrating adequate control, as specific parameters must be fulfilled in order to obtain authorization. Adequate control is an inherent principle of service-oriented business models.
Chemical Leasing offers an ideal environment for identifying and applying the chemical safety concept and assessments of use, exposure and risk, in particular within the chemical safety report that companies must provide. The specification of relevant use and exposure categories under REACH and the required risk management can build upon the assessments already performed during the implementation of Chemical Leasing.
Application of Chemical Leasing business models implies measures for monitoring the quality and condition of chemicals, their applications, and the impact on health and the environment. Identical measures are required by REACH.
Moreover, Chemical Leasing has the potential, in the long run, for substituting the most hazardous substances with less dangerous ones. In the future, Chemical Leasing models could be designed to trigger “fast track” licensing procedures and special conditions such as reduced registration/authorisation fees.
Similar links can be made to analogous national regulations, laws and programmes that are in force or under development, such as the U.S. Toxics Release Inventory and Toxic Chemical Substance Inventory, the Chinese and Turkish “REACH”, the Japanese Chemical Substances Control Law, the Korean Toxic Chemicals Control Act, and comparable chemical laws and regulations in other countries.