The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is a European Union (EU) regulatory agency responsible for implementing and administering chemicals legislation. The ECHA provides guidance and assistance to organizations with regard to chemical legislation compliance, advances the safe use of chemicals, provides information about chemicals, and highlights and addresses chemicals of concern. The ECHA is also responsible for the management of the technical and administrative aspects of a variety of legislation, including:
- The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation.
- The Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation.
- The Waste Framework Directive.
- The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
As the EU’s chief regulatory body for the safe and sustainable use and advancement of chemicals, the ECHA controls the use of chemicals within the European Economic Area and acts as Europe’s leading source of chemical information. In this capacity, the ECHA manages and maintains lists of chemicals falling under the various pieces of legislation the organization works with on a regular basis. These chemical lists include the list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) and are regularly updated to reflect legislative changes.
The ECHA itself has no enforcement responsibilities due to the fact it is a community-level institution. Instead, the ECHA hosts the Forum for Exchange for Information on Enforcement whose members include representatives of EU member state national enforcement authorities that coordinate enforcement on a supranational level. The Forum’s chief goal is harmonized enforcement of ECHA regulations and improved protections for human health and the environment while ensuring the EU chemicals industry remains competitive.