An important part of chemical safety is clear information about any hazardous properties of a substance. The classification of different chemicals according to their characteristics (for example, those that are corrosive, or toxic to fish, etc.) currently follows an established system, which is reflected in REACH. A new EU CLP regulation will come into force from January 2009 and will dovetail with REACH.
The passage of information up and down the supply chain is a key feature of REACH. Users should be able to understand what manufacturers and importers know about the dangers involved in using chemicals and how to control risks. However, in order for suppliers to be able to assess these risks they need information from the users about how they are used. REACH provides a framework in which information can be passed both up and down supply chains.
REACH adopts and builds on the previous system for passing information - the Safety Data Sheet. This should accompany materials down through the supply chain, providing the information users need to ensure chemicals are safely managed. In time these safety data sheets will include information on safe handling and use.