South Korean The Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (K-REACH)

South Korea, like other regions adopted a REACH (see European Legislation page) style regulation that entered into force early 2015, when the Toxic Substances Control Act (1991) was divided into The Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (K-REACH) and the Chemicals Control Act (CCA). The purpose of CCA is control of hazardous substances and chemical accidents. A revision to K-REACH was published in March of this year for entry into force on 1 January 2019.

The revised regulation now requires registration of existing substances manufactured or imported in quantities of 1 tonne or more per annum (t/a). Previously only new and designated substances were required to be registered.

A new substance is a substance not appearing on the Korean Existing Chemicals List (KECL), currently comprising around 43,000 chemicals. 

New substances now only require registration above 100 kg/year and notification to the South Korean Ministry of Environment (MoE) below this level, a beneficial change.

However, registration and notification for new substances must be conducted prior to manufacture or import. Notification involves the submission of administrative data, not the hazard data required for registration.

The revision aligns K-REACH more with its EU counterpart, implementing phased registration provided “pre-notification” is undertaken. 

Similar to EU REACH, overseas manufacturers are not permitted to undertaken registration directly, but may appoint a South Korean based representative to act on their behalf.

However, unlike EU-REACH, polymers are subject to registration, other than low concern polymers. 

For existing substances, K-REACH registration deadlines are as follows:

  • 1000 t/a or more and CMR* substances, 31 December 2021;
  • 100-1000 t/a, 31 December 2024;
  • 1-100 t/a, 31 December 2030.

*carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic

510 substances designated Priority Existing Substances must be registered by 1 July 2018.

Certain categories/volume of substances are exempt from full registration, including substances intended for export-only, R&D and low concern polymers. However, confirmation of exemption status must be obtained from the MoE.

 Page published 1 May 2018