Chemicals are an essential component of our daily lives, but some chemicals can severely damage our health or the environment. There is an increase in health problems that can be partially explained by the use of chemicals. Some man-made chemicals are found in the most remote places in the environment but also in our bodies.

Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH - EC No 1907/2006) entered into force in 2007. It streamlines and improves the former legislative framework on chemicals of the European Union (EU).The main aims of REACH are to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, the promotion of alternative test methods, the free circulation of substances on the internal market and enhancing competitiveness and innovation.

REACH makes industry responsible for assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals and providing appropriate safety information to their users. In parallel, the European Union can take additional measures on highly dangerous substances, where there is a need for complementing action at EU level.

REACH is complemented by the new Regulation for Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP Regulation, (EC) No 1272/2008, entered into force on 20 January 2009). The Regulation incorporates the classification criteria and labeling rules agreed at UN level, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The Regulation requires companies to classify, label and package appropriately their hazardous chemicals before placing them on the market. It aims to protect workers, consumers and the environment by means of labelling which reflects possible hazardous effects of dangerous substances.

Industrial Emissions Directive (IED - Directive 2010/75/EU) is the successor of the IPPC Directive and in essence, it is focused on minimising pollution from various industrial sources throughout the European Union. Operators of industrial installations operating activities covered by Annex I of the IED are required to obtain an integrated permit from the authorities in the EU countries. About 50.000 installations were covered by the IPPC Directive and the IED will cover some new activities which could mean the number of installations rising slightly. The IED is based on several principles, namely (1) an integrated approach, (2) best available techniques, (3) flexibility, (4) inspections and (5) public participation.

The REACH and CLP regulations, interlinked amongst other with the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), are covering major chapters of chemicals legislation and industrial pollution control.

Most of the ECRAN beneficiary countries are at different level when it comes to transposition of the industrial emissions/chemicals related EU acquis. Additional efforts are required in the area of implementation. Since this area was only partially covered by the Regional Environmental Accession Network (RENA), the activities implemented under this working group are focused on the required capacity building and strengthening of the existing administrative structures for proper transposition, implementation and enforcement of the related directives and regulations.

The training program of this Working group is closely coordinated with the one designed under ECENA Working group in order to avoid duplication and overlaps.