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Woman in a laboratory pouring chemical into a funnel

REACH is a significant piece of European legislation. The acronym stands for:

  • Registration,
  • Evaluation
  • Authorisation
  • and restriction of Chemicals

The regulation replaces numerous European Union Directives and regulations and places responsibility on the chemical industry to demonstrate the safety of its products.

Approximately 30,000 chemicals will have to be registered in an 11-year period following the legislation's enactment on 1 June 2007.

The European Commission believes REACH will deliver significant benefits by:

  • providing a high level of protection to human health and the environment;
  • fostering innovation within the EU chemicals industry and ensuring high safety standards for its products; and
  • providing a single EU regulatory system with a streamlined decision-making process and clear timelines.

The position of Shell on REACH

Shell chemicals companies support the underlying goals of REACH, which include placing greater responsibility on industry to manage the risks that chemicals may pose to health and the environment. This is consistent with our own commitment to promote the responsible production, use and handling of the products we make.

We have also been actively engaged for several years, principally through the European Chemicals Industry Council (Cefic), in making our position on REACH known to the European Community. We also continue to work with industry colleagues to develop implementation guidelines for the industry.

A key priority for Shell chemicals companies at this point is to prepare for REACH registration in 2010, which requires work in both external consortia with other manufacturers and internal preparations. We continue our collaboration with our customers and suppliers to gather all of the required information on the products we sell and those we buy.

REACH the key stages

The registration of a chemical substance under REACH is a complex process, requiring significant effort on the part of manufacturers and importers. Timelines for registration are based on substance hazard classification and volume.