1. Definitions of REACH
As defined by the European Commission: “REACH is the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemical substances. The law entered into force on June 1, 2007. The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. The REACH Regulation places greater responsibility on industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances. Manufacturers and importers are required to gather information on the properties of their chemical substances, which will allow their safe handling, and to register the information in a central database run by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki, [Finland]. The Agency acts as the central point in the REACH system: it manages the databases necessary to operate the system, coordinates the in-depth evaluation of suspicious chemicals and is building up a public database in which consumers and professionals can find hazard information.
The Regulation also calls for the progressive substitution of the most dangerous chemicals when suitable alternatives have been identified. For more information visit this link to read REACH in Brief.
One of the main reasons for developing and adopting the REACH Regulation was that a large number of substances have been manufactured and placed on the market in Europe for many years, sometimes in very high amounts, and yet there is insufficient information on the hazards that they pose to human health and the environment. There is a need to fill these information gaps to ensure that industry is able to assess hazards and risks of the substances, and to identify and implement the risk management measures to protect humans and the environment."
2. Definitions of IMDS
IMDS is the International Material Data System, a global data repository for product content used by the automotive industry and used to gather information for use in reporting requirements for directives such as REACH. It is the global standard for the industry and has been in place since the 1990’s with over 90,000 participating companies and suppliers. Because it is a computer-based system, IMDS recognizes hazardous substances by comparing the entered data with the lists of prohibited substances. Hence OEMs can trace hazardous substances back to the part and work on eliminating them through the supply chain.
All substances have to be stated in the material data sheet (MDS) of the IMDS with a resolution of 1 gram or better - not just the declarable and prohibited substances (Cr VI, Hg, etc.). That is why substances and materials of products must be known in detail.
The basic premise of the system is that the flow of data through IMDS companies mimics the flow of the product through companies in the physical world with each link in the supply chain supplying data in IMDS to their customer as they deliver product to their customer.