REACH stands for  Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of  Chemical substances and is by far the most important change ever to the legislation on chemical substances.  REACH aims to protect the health of people and the environment while also protecting the industry. 


  • promotes knowledge of REACH in Belgium
  • urges the European and national governments to adopt  a pragmatic application of REACH in the chemical industry 
  • supports companies in implementing REACH.

European companies have been subject to legislation governing chemical substances since 1967. Legislation that was regarded as insufficiently effective. There was insufficient knowledge of the hazards posed by many substances while information often continued to circulate inside the company, the risks posed by  substances failing to be communicated to (industrial) customers. 
In 2001 the European Commission decided to act. After many years of discussions, the European Parliament approved the REACH regulation at the end of 2006.   

No data, no market
REACH obliges companies in Europe to gather and disseminate information on the properties and risks of chemical substances to ensure that they can be used safely. 
The basic principle of REACH is simple: “no data, no market”. Before a company can market a substance it must show that it can be used in safety throughout the chain, from raw material to end product. Given the large number of substances, the REACH legislation has set a series of deadlines through to 2018, by which time all chemical substances must be registered with  the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki.  


More about essenscia and REACH

essenscia is also continuing to treat REACH as one of its top priorities. The sector is fully aware of the scope and potential consequences of this legislation. An important task for essenscia is to pass on to the Belgian industrial fabric as a whole the technical knowledge built up in relation to REACH. This is achieved in part through the exchange experience projects VLARIP and WALRIP that essenscia has organised since 2008 with the support of the Flemish and Walloon Governments.
By means of debate within the VBO-FEB and within CEFIC at European level, essenscia monitors REACH very actively as well as the development of related guidelines, accompanying documents and sector standpoints.

REACH also remains at the top of the agenda politically, given the many evaluations laid down in the legislation and the many decisions that remain to be taken. The chemical industry wants this to be done with pragmatism, taking full account of all the pillars of sustainable development. Exercising control over REACH is a task for each Member State and as a federation we call for a harmonised approach, also regarding possible fines, so as not to create differences within Europe.