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Chemicals guidance

The UK has withdrawn from the European Union and is in a transition period until 31 December 2020. The UK, with the exception of Northern Ireland, will leave the single market and customs union on 31 December 2020 unless negotiated otherwise.

Companies based in Great Britain (GB) currently registered with EU REACH will no longer be able to sell into the EU/EEA market without transferring their registrations to an EU-based organisation. Under the Northern Ireland protocol, the process for Northern Ireland-based businesses moving goods to and from the EU single market under EU REACH will not change after 1 January 2021.

As GB will no longer be part of the EU single market, companies making, selling or distributing chemicals in GB will have to comply with UK REACH, the UK's independent chemicals regulatory framework which is in place from 1 January 2021. Those making, selling or distributing chemicals in the EU will need to follow EU REACH rules. Under UK REACH, manufacturers and importers have a duty to register chemicals that will be made available on the GB market. Businesses must review their roles in the EU and UK REACH systems and their current supply chains. They'll need to take certain actions to access the EU/EEA and GB markets.

For further guidance on EU REACH and UK REACH after 1 January 2021 see How to comply with REACH chemical regulations and how to prepare for 1 January 2021.

From 1 January 2021 the applications to make biocidal active substances and products available on the GB market must be submitted to HSE. How HSE will process these applications is being finalised. Businesses will also need to make sure they are fully informed about their obligations and duties under the classification, labelling and packaging regulations for chemicals. Further guidance on regulating chemicals after the transition period is available on the HSE website: Chemicals industry: prepare for after the transition period.

The guidance on this page is correct at 30 October 2020 and is based on information available at the time. Regular updates will be made as the EU Exit process develops. You can always check up to date guidance at

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