The concentration of an increasing number of chemicals in our environment is leading to a series of environmental and health concerns. REACH is a European Union regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of CHemicals (REACH). It was adopted in 2007 to better protect human health and the environment from the risks related to chemicals, while fostering the competitiveness of the EU chemical industry.

In principle, the REACH regulation applies to all chemicals: those used in industrial processes but also those used in our everyday lives, for example in cleaning products, paints and items such as clothing, furniture and electrical appliances.

The REACH regulation places the burden of proof on businesses. In order to implement it, businesses need to identify and manage the risks associated with the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. They need to demonstrate to the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) how the substance can be used safely, and communicate risk management measures to users. If the risks cannot be managed, the authorities can restrict the use of the substances in several ways.

One of the innovations of REACH regulations facilitating the transition to a more sustainable economy is the "authorisation" legislative tool to encourage companies to replace substances of very high concern with safer alternatives.

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