REACH is the European Union's new chemical management regime that is having a global impact. In addition to significant obligations for EU companies involved in the manufacture, import, downstream use, or distribution of about 30,000 chemical substances, non-EU companies involved in supply chains importing into Europe are facing requirements under this law. And the law extends well beyond chemical manufacturers and importers, as it applies to any sector using chemical substances, including, for example, electronic equipment, plastics, telecommunication equipment, IT products, commodities that contain chemicals (such as petroleum products and metals), and many others.

The first REACH requirement—pre-registration—closes Nov. 30, 2008. Manufacturers and importers who pre-register their substances by this deadline can then take advantage of the extended time available to complete the registration process—up until June 2018 for low-volume, low-toxicity substances. If the preregistration window is missed, then the consequences can be severe: substances will be considered to be “new” chemicals, and a full registration must be completed before the substance can be legally marketed in the EU. Moreover, companies involved in a global supply chain of a chemical substance may face supply chain pressure, or requests for disclosure of potential uses and exposure information.

Have you been working to comply with REACH? Are you taking steps to ensure your supply chain will continue unaffected by REACH? If you have questions or concerns, please contact us. Reed Smith has been providing legal and strategic advice to a variety of clients on a range of REACH issues, including:

  • Advising multinational and U.S.-based companies on REACH’s legal implications and the principal mechanisms to participate in the pre-registration and registration processes
  • Counseling a multinational computer technology and electronics corporation on pre-registration requirements, REACH's regulation of substances of very high concern, Member States' enforcement, and issues unique to articles
  • Helping several U.S.-based companies with operations in the EU satisfy their pre-registration requirements, and advising on communications and contractual relations with their suppliers and customers
  • Advising a commodities trader on its REACH obligations and helping to develop a compliance strategy