EU Chemicals Agency Publishes Plan To Improve Information on Substance Use

By Stephen Gardner  

BRUSSELS--The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) July 17 published a 21-point plan of actions through 2018 to improve the quality and clarity of information provided to chemical users by registrants that submit dossiers under the European Union’s REACH law.

ECHA said it will collaborate with EU member states and chemical industry associations to implement the plan, which is aimed at improving information given in REACH dossiers on exposure scenarios and in extended safety data sheets.

Exposure scenarios are descriptions of how a substance can be handled safely for a certain usage or application. Extended safety data sheets contain substance and safe-use information that manufacturers or vendors of chemicals must provide to their customers under REACH (Regulation No. 1907/2006 on the registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals).

The action plan deals with key issues for “improving the quality of REACH exposure scenarios to ensure the safe use of chemicals in Europe,” ECHA Executive Director Geert Dancet, said in a statement.

ECHA said companies can commit to the action plan by signing a charter pledging to support its aims.

Action Plan Aims

The aims of the action plan are:

• to achieve a common understanding on the objectives of communication of chemical safety information;

• to clarify the information needs of users of chemicals;

• to promote standardization of information;

• to help formulators or producers of mixtures of chemicals convert substance safe-use information into advice on the safe use of mixtures; and

• to provide mixture safe-use information to professional end-users (for example, on mixtures, such as lubricants, used in industrial processes).


The plan’s 21 actions in pursuit of these aims include reviewing the descriptor system, or categories of possible uses, used in REACH exposure scenarios; analyzing the integration of chemical safety information into workplace safety guidance; adopting harmonized information formats; and developing clearer formats in consultation with end-users of information.

According to the action plan, the various measures will involve practical activities such as carrying out studies and surveys, holding workshops, and publishing guidance.

ECHA said in most cases work will be completed by the last REACH deadline for registration of chemicals, which falls on May 30, 2018, and applies to substances manufactured in, or imported into, the European Union in annual volumes between 1 and 100 metric tons.


The REACH action plan on chemical safety information is available at