Existing Substances Regulation (ESR)

European programme for identifying risks from chemicals to human health and the environment.

Current Legal Database

EC Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 of 23 March 1993 on the evaluation and control of the risks of existing substances.


ESR is a European wide systematic approach to identifying and managing the risks of chemicals to human health and the environment. The Regulation provides for data gathering; technical assessment of the risks; and the development of proposals for risk reduction where appropriate. The work on risk assessment is co-ordinated by the European Chemical Bureau (ECB) at Ispra, Italy. Further information on ESR, copies of the risk assessments and the ECB Newsletters which provide updates on progress of substances through ESR, were available on the ECB website.

In the UK, European Risk Management Advisory Group (ERMAG) is a subgroup of ACTS (Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances). It is a consultative forum which considers risk reduction strategies for chemicals reviewed through the ESR.

In October 2003, the European Commission adopted a new proposal to address the management of chemicals including existing substances. A new system of Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) is proposed. When REACH is implemented, it will replace ESR.

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Updated 2022-05-20