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European Union legislation requires companies to provide detailed information on chemicals.

These materials are a guide only and are not intended to provide in-depth regulatory or legal review that may be required to properly determine your company’s requirements under Reach. Regulatory and legal questions should be raised to an expert in the field and with legal counsel.

Since 2006 ExxonMobil has been moving quickly to comply with the new European Union regulation commonly referred to as REACH (for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of CHemicals). REACH was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in December 2006 and entered into force on June 1, 2007  REACH has several different implementation deadlines; REACH has also become a legislation in the European Economic Area (EEA) countries Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.

REACH is one of the most complex and far reaching Chemical regulations ever adopted by the European legislature and it has impact for all of industry including the Chemicals, Refining & Supply, Fuels & Lubricants businesses of ExxonMobil. In the eyes of the REACH legislation, fuels, oils, waxes, lubes and many gases are all chemicals.

The legislation requires industry to mitigate the risks from these chemicals by providing information on their properties and risks and registering that data with a central agency. What this, in effect, means is that the responsibility for ensuring that chemicals are used safely is shifted from the regulatory authorities to the manufacturers and importers of the chemicals.

In the REACH scope will you find substances on their own, substances in mixtures (solution composed of two or more substances) and to some extent, substances in articles*.

There are however some key exclusions from scope of the regulation which include: Non-isolated intermediates, radioactive substances, substances under customs supervision and waste material.

Examples of exemptions from Registration and Evaluation are:

  • Substances manufactured/imported below 1 t/year (per manufacturer / importer).
  • Annex V Substances including substances occurring in nature, if not chemically modified, eg. Natural gas, crude oil.
  • Polymers (but monomers and certain additives are subject to REACH requirements).
  • Substances for Product and Process-Oriented Research and Development (PPORD). A notification is required; exemption period of 5 years (renewable under condition).
  • Substances used in products covered by specific end use legislation, such as medicinal products, foodstuffs.

(*an object with a shape, surface or design that determines its function)

The goal of REACH is to provide a greater level of protection for humans and the environment by ensuring that proper information on handling, storage and chemical make-up together with risk management measures, if appropriate, are readily available.