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New online database ECHA CHEM has been launched. New platform will publish REACH information on more than 360,000 chemicals

The European Union has been taking care of the central collection of chemicals since 2016. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has set up a central online platform for this purpose. It lists all registered substances and also provides a lot of additional information on handling chemicals. However, after six years, the underlying technical platform was no longer able to meet ECHA’s increased requirements for the enormous data volumes of more than 360,000 chemicals. That is why the European Chemicals Agency announced a new system as early as 2022. The new version went online a few weeks ago, specifically on January 30, 2024, and can be accessed at

ECHA’s primary task and objective is the safe use of chemicals to protect human health and the environment. Under this premise, the agency supports all companies in the legally compliant handling of chemicals. EU legislation on chemicals or biocides that is mandatory for companies based in the EU includes the REACH Regulation of June 1, 2007. It regulates the “Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals”. Companies must register their substances with ECHA and cooperate with other companies that also use these substances.

ECHA CHEM - a mandatory chemical database for many, a useful source of information for all

Companies based outside the EU are not bound by the REACH obligations, even if they export the products to the customs territory of the European Union. However, importing companies based in the EU are obliged to fulfill the requirements of REACH. These importing companies are therefore subject to registration.

This registration is published on the online platform and can therefore be viewed transparently and free of charge by anyone. But not only that. The ECHA database provides everyone with numerous aids for dealing with chemicals. The achievements of ECHA-CHEM can be illustrated using the example of the widely used substance ammonia:

How to use ECHA CHEM

The fabric you are looking for is typed into the search slot. The database contains all registered compounds that have to do with ammonia. The list shows the corresponding “European Community Number” and the “Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number®”.

In the second step, the user receives information about the chemical formula and the number of registrations.

Click on “Dossiers” in the left-hand column to access further information on ammonia.

The dossier provides the following helpful information under “11 Guidance on safe use”:

  • First aid measures in case of inhalation of vapors, skin or eye contact and in case of ingestion.
  • Suitable substances for firefighting and instructions for the protection of firefighters.
  • Instructions on what to do in the event of an accidental spill.
  • Information on the handling and storage of ammonia.

The future of ECHA CHEM

The new ECHA CHEM has made a first start with the first 100,000 registrations. The registrations are continuously transferred to the new system and the many additional pieces of information, from the chemical formula to the disposal of the substance, are completed. Thanks to the close cooperation with the national authorities in the member states of the EU and the European Economic Area as well as Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein, the management of chemicals in the world’s second largest economic area is made possible in a centralized and standardized manner. (see also: ECHA)

ECHA also cooperates closely with international institutions such as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Chemical safety” and the United Nations, specifically the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Since 2002, the UNECE has published its GHS system, the “Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)”, every two years in order to standardize the handling of chemicals worldwide.

In international comparison, the EU has demanding legislation for chemicals. But the EU agency is not leaving it at that. It also works closely with many other regulatory authorities from non-EU countries around the world. By sharing knowledge and experience, ECHA aims to harmonize the management of all chemicals at international level as far as possible. Specifically, the aim is to improve data quality, classification and labeling and thus contribute to the safe production and use of chemicals and the identification and appropriate treatment of substances of concern.

With ECHA CHEM, the chemical industry of the European Union operates a comprehensive database that can be used worldwide. Even if the safety regulations differ from region to region, the hazardous substances that we handle globally and that we have to transport safely transcontinentally do not. Most of the information collected by ECHA CHEM with great effort and care is relevant worldwide.

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