19 March 2016

Dutch legislation on chemicals

Category: Administrative law

The REACH regulation of the European Union, is intended to protect human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals. The regulation also has to enhance the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry and promotes alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances in order to reduce the number of tests on animals. The REACH Regulation puts the burden of proof on companies. Dutch Attorney Mark van Weeren explains how to comply with the regulation. On legal audit is necessary for a company to be REACH-proof. Companies must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. They have to demonstrate to ECHA how the substance can be safely used, and they must communicate the risk management measures to the users.

EU Legislation on Chemicals

ECHA is a regulatory authority in implementing the EU’s chemicals legislation for the benefit of human health and the environment. The ECHA website gives information on how REACH works;” REACH establishes procedures for collecting and assessing information on the properties and hazards of substances. Companies need to register their substances and to do this they need to work together with other companies who are registering the same substance. ECHA receives and evaluates individual registrations for their compliance, and the EU Member States evaluate selected substances to clarify initial concerns for human health or for the environment. Authorities and ECHA’s scientific committees assess whether the risks of substances can be managed.”

Legal audit on responsibilities and regulations

The rules from REACH impact on a wide range of companies across many sectors, even those who may not think of themselves as being involved with chemicals. The Manufacturer producing chemicals, either to use itself or to supply to other companies (even if it is for export), then you will probably have some important responsibilities under REACH. Next to importers (see below) downstream users may use chemicals and therefore need to check obligations to handle any chemicals in industrial or professional activity. You might have some responsibilities under REACH.

Legal duty on registration of chemicals

The legal responsibility for fulfilling the requirements of REACH, such as pre-registration or registration lies with the importers established in the European Union, or with the only representative of a non-EU manufacturer established in the European Union. If an importing company buys anything from outside the EU/EEA, it is likely to have some responsibilities under REACH. It may be individual chemicals, mixtures for onwards sale or finished products, like clothes, furniture or plastic goods. If you have any questions on regulation of chemicals in the Netherlands please contact Dutch attorney Mark van Weeren