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#The Scope of the REACH Legislation
 
Entered into force on 1 June 2007, REACH requires the registration, over a period of 11 years of some 30.000 chemical substances in use today, a process which will allow to fill information gaps on the hazards of substances and to identify appropriate risk management measures to ensure their safe use.

The onus will be on industry to generate the data required and to identify the measures needed to manage the risks. In addition, REACH will allow the further evaluation of such substances where there are grounds of suspicion of risks and foresees an authorisation system for the use of substances of very high concern.

This applies to substances that cause cancer, infertility in men and women, genetic mutations or birth defects and to those which are persistent and accumulate in our bodies and the environment. The Authorisation system will strongly encourage companies to switch to safer alternatives.

In fact, all applications for an authorisation need to include an analysis of alternatives and a substitution plan where a suitable alternative exists.

REACH will also enable more rapid total or partial bans where unacceptable risks are detected.

In addition, measures are foreseen to ensure that animal testing is kept to the strict minimum and to encourage the use of alternative testing methods.

Finally, REACH ensures a comprehensive flow of information about the risks of substances throughout industry and to consumers.

The benefits for health and environment as well as business benefits from, for example, improved consumer confidence in chemicals are expected to outweigh by far the initial increased costs for companies. Moreover, the agreement between the Parliament and the Council has also on balance reduced the administrative and financial burden for companies, in particular for the substances supplied in lower volumes benefiting mainly SMEs. The positive incentives for innovation in the proposal have also been strengthened by encouraging substitution of highly dangerous substances.
 
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