What is a REACH Certificate?

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Apr 7, 2022

A REACH Certificate of Compliance is a document certifying that a product is compliant with European Union's (EU) REACH regulations. REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It is a regulation adopted in Europe to protect human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals and also improve innovation and the competitiveness of the chemicals industry. REACH also specifies safe methods for hazard assessment of substances without harming animals and the environment during testing.

REACH applies to all chemical substances; not only those used in industrial processes but also to substances used in day-to-day products. Every substance used in making a chemical product (substance or mixture) or an article (i.e. clothes, toys, electrical appliances etc.) needs to be registered under EU REACH when the production volume of that product exceeds 1 ton per year. Hence, the regulation has an impact on most companies across the EU. These products are checked for substances of very high concern (SVHC) and substances in REACH's restricted substance list and then given certifications accordingly.

A REACH certificate is issued by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and contains a REACH registration number that shows compliance with the regulation. REACH places the burden of proof on companies. To comply with the regulation, companies must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. They can collaborate with other companies registering the same substance and demonstrate to ECHA how the substance can be safely used while also communicating the risk management measures to the customers.

The ECHA receives and evaluates individual registrations in terms of their compliance while different EU member states evaluate select substances regarding local concerns on human health and the environment. ECHA’s scientific committees then assess the risks, if any, for the substances registered. If the relevant committees find hazardous substances in the samples provided, they can either decide to restrict the use or ban the substance as a whole. Usually, ECHA suggests substitutions for hazardous substances in an effort to not put a chokehold on a product category.

The PCB manufacturing industry also adheres to REACH regulations of the European Union. Manufacturers of all electronic products pay close attention to these requirements so that their products meet the necessary quality and safety standards. Manufacturers usually develop an enterprise-level chemical substance database that includes all the components they use to create their products. This database also contains the exact chemical composition of each component and material in the products. In the electronic industry, different component suppliers may use different types of chemical substances like metals, non-metals, compounds and mixtures to make the same component. Hence, it is necessary to coordinate with suppliers of the different components to know the exact composition of the chemical substances used in manufacturing the product to properly obtain REACH certification.

The REACH certificate tells the users of the substances and chemicals used in making the products they buy and also how safe or harmful the mentioned substances are. Customers may want to choose to avoid certain substances in the products that they buy and use. Proper declaration of compliance with the REACH certificate helps companies build a trustworthy and transparent brand that their customers can rely without risking human health and the environment.