Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Acronym: REACH for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals

REACH is the European Community approach to prospective risk management of new chemicals. The REACH regulation is effective since June 1, 2007. The goal is to protect humans and the environment and to place responsibilities to the chemical industry in terms of gathering information on physicochemical and ecotoxicological properties of chemical products and their safe handling. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), located in Helsinki, Finland, has details in the languages of the EU member countries:

A complete, language-dispatching list of ECHA-links is available at

In German, REACH is typically stated as Registrierung, Bewertung, Zulassung und Beschränkung chemischer Stoffe. With this translation, the regulation activity of authorisation (authorization) splits into acceptance (Zulassung) and limitation or restriction (Beschränkung) of chemical substances. In fact, in some other language versions the acceptance/restriction breakdown is made as well. The restriction aspect did not make it into the acronym. This certainly is the least favored regulation outcome on the part of manufacturers and, further, its inclusion into the acronym would have made it unpronounceable; so it was just left out to reach REACH.

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