The plastics industry is committed to proactively meeting all its obligations under the EU’s chemicals policy known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals). REACH aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. It entered into force on June 1st, 2007 (EC1907/2006) and has a direct impact on every member of the plastics supply chain, including additives producers, plastics producers, plastics converters and retail businesses.

Exposure Scenarios

Exposure scenarios are important tools for improving the safe use of chemicals in Europe. They provide information on how the exposure of workers, consumers and the environment to substances can be controlled to ensure their safe use. Exposure scenarios are developed by manufacturers and importers in the context of the chemical safety assessment as part of the REACH registration.

Associations representing the plastics supply chain have formed a Plastics Exposure Scenario Team (PEST). It has produced a list of Generic Exposure Scenarios that cover most of the known plastics uses and has translated them into "REACH use descriptors”.

To access the table, click on the image below

These use descriptors should be used by plastics producers to communicate with their suppliers to inform them of their uses. This is recommended for classified additives and optional for the non-classified ones.


Exposure scenarios for registrants of substances used as additives in plastics

A web-based tool is now available to manufacturers and importers of substances used as additives in plastics. The Plastics Exposure Scenario Tool (PESTOOL) is a chemical safety assessment (CSA) specifically developed by the plastics industry for the plastics industry.

Find out more about PESTOOL here:

The tool provides a solution to the obligations laid out in article 31.7 of REACH:

  • For plastic additive suppliers, PESTOOL provides plastic specific exposure scenarios for hazardous additives.

  • For masterbatchers and compounders, PESTOOL is able to perform a CSA on their mixture resulting in a Safe Use Information annex that can be appended to the SDS. This fulfills the REACH obligation to provide Safe Use information to customers.

  • For converters, PESTOOL provides the opportunity to perform a CSA to optimize the risk management measures on the factory floor.

Further information is available on these websites:

PEST website
The PEST website provides all the necessary information to understand the use descriptors of plastics. It is open to all plastics converters.

Reach Centrum is the professional services body established by the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic). The services provided by ReachCentrum are also available to non-members.

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
The Agency, located in Helsinki, Finland, manages the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction processes for chemical substances to ensure consistency across the European Union. The ECHA web site provides all relevant publications regarding the implementation of REACH: guidance documents, fact sheets, etc.

European Commission / DG Environment
The REACH regulation is, and will be requiring on particular issues, political resolutions. This process can be monitored here.

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