Dangerous substances


The main objectives of EEA legislation on dangerous substances are to improve the protection of human health and the environment as well as ensuring the free circulation of goods in the EEA. The legislation deals with safety assessment, placing on the market and use of a wide range of substances and products.

Horizontal legislation on chemicals

The main measures consist of the REACH Regulation and the CLP Regulation.

REACH - Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals

REACH streamlines and improves the former EEA legislative framework on chemicals. The main aims of REACH are

  • to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals, through better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances
  • to promote alternative test methods
  • to ensure the free circulation of substances on the internal market
  • to enhance competitiveness and innovation

REACH gives greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks posed by chemicals and to provide safety information. Manufacturers and importers are required to gather information on the properties of their chemical substances and to register the information in a central database run by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The Agency acts as the central point in the REACH system: it manages the databases necessary to operate the system, co-ordinates the in-depth evaluation of chemicals and runs a public database.

REACH also provides for rules for phasing-out and progressive substitution of the most dangerous chemicals when suitable alternatives have been identified.

CLP - Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures

The CLP Regulation aligns previous EEA legislation on classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Its main objectives are to facilitate international trade in chemicals and to maintain existing levels of protection of human health and environment.

The CLP Regulation requires companies to classify, label and package their hazardous chemicals appropriately before placing them on the market. It aims to protect workers, consumers and the environment by means of labelling which reflects the potential hazardous effects of dangerous substances.

Using internationally agreed classification criteria and labelling elements is expected to facilitate trade and to contribute towards global efforts to protect humans and the environment from the hazardous effects of chemicals.

Sector-specific legislation

Specific EEA measures establish harmonised requirements for the placing on the market and use of specific products containing or made of chemicals. They include:

  • batteries and accumulators
  • biocidal products
  • detergents
  • hazardous substances in electric and electronic equipments (RoHS)
  • plant protection products.

These rules are adapted to the specific needs and characteristics of the products in question and aim at achieving a high level of protection of human health and the environment while ensuring the free circulation within the Internal Market of products that comply with the rules.

Relevant links

Other EEA Institutions

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