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REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals) , Explained

This article offers a deep dive into REACH, exploring its objectives, key components, and its global implications.

Written by:

Christi Farrell, RA, Leed GA


December 17, 2023

Image source:

Studio Marlowe

When designing a home, we often focus on aesthetic elements such as color palettes, furniture, and decor.

However, an equally essential aspect of interior design is ensuring the health and safety of the occupants.

This is where REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals) comes into play—an important regulation that impacts the heart of healthy home interiors.

What is REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals)?

REACH is a European Union regulation adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals.

It came into force on June 1, 2007, and has since served as a benchmark for controlling the usage of hazardous substances within the EU.

The Aims of REACH

REACH aims to:

  1. Provide a high level of protection for human health and the environment.
  2. Enhance the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry.
  3. Promote alternative methods for hazard assessment to reduce testing on animals.
  4. Ensure the free movement of substances within the European market.

Under REACH, manufacturers and importers are required to gather information on the properties of their chemical substances and to register the information in a central database managed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Relevance to Healthy Interior Design

In the context of interior design, REACH impacts several elements, from the paint on the walls to the fabric of the furniture.

It ensures that harmful chemicals are not used in products that will be part of people's daily lives, mitigating the risk of allergies, respiratory issues, and other health problems associated with toxic substances.

For designers and consumers alike, understanding and adhering to REACH standards is critical for creating and maintaining healthy indoor environments.

Compliance with REACH in Interior Design

Interior design products fall under the scope of REACH in various categories, including but not limited to textiles, flooring, and furniture.

Compliance with REACH ensures that these products are free from substances that could be harmful to occupants.

Identifying REACH-Compliant Products

When selecting materials or products for interior design, professionals need to identify REACH-compliant items.

This can typically be done by:

  1. Checking product information for the REACH compliance statement.
  2. Requesting safety data sheets from manufacturers or suppliers.
  3. Confirming that the product does not contain any substances on the REACH list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC).

Brands with REACH Certification

Several brands claim to have REACH certification, which signifies their commitment to avoiding harmful chemicals in production.

Reference to certified brands builds trust and reassurance for clients looking for healthy home solutions.

Some known brands that have aligned themselves with REACH compliance include:

  • Ikea: The Swedish furniture giant ensures that its products comply with strict industry standards, including REACH.
  • Sherwin-Williams: As a global provider of paint and coatings, Sherwin-Williams has REACH compliance incorporated into its product management system.

Frequently Asked Questions about REACH

Is REACH certification mandatory for all interior design products sold in the EU?

Yes, all products that contain chemical substances and are sold in the EU must comply with REACH regulations.

How does REACH contribute to a healthier home environment?

By controlling the use of harmful chemicals in home products, REACH reduces the chances of residents being exposed to allergens and toxic substances that could affect their health.

Can non-EU products be REACH compliant?

Non-EU products can be REACH compliant if they adhere to the same standards and regulations set by the EU. Often, international manufacturers will comply with REACH to maintain access to the EU market.

What happens if a product is not REACH compliant?

Products that are not REACH compliant may be withdrawn from the EU market, and manufacturers could face legal repercussions.

The Impact of REACH on Interior Material Selection

Interior designers must carefully select materials for their projects, ensuring that all components—from floorboards to window treatments—are REACH compliant.

This involves working closely with vendors and suppliers who understand the significance of the regulation and uphold its values in their product offering.

Sustainable Practice Integration

REACH compliance aligns with the broad movement towards sustainability in interior design.

Designers are rapidly embracing eco-friendly materials and practices, and REACH certification serves as a reliable indicator of a product's environmental and health credentials.

The Ongoing Evolution of REACH and Healthy Interiors

REACH is a dynamic regulation that evolves in response to scientific discoveries and advocacy for greater health protection.

As new substances are identified as hazardous, REACH is updated to include these, ensuring an ongoing commitment to safe and healthy interior design practices.

Interior designers need to stay informed about REACH updates and modifications to ensure ongoing compliance and optimal health conditions within designed spaces.


REACH stands at the intersection of chemistry, environmental policy, and interior design.

In promoting healthy homes, interior designers have the responsibility to choose REACH-compliant products, reduce exposure to hazardous substances, and create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also conducive to well-being.

Through adherence to REACH standards and regulations, the design industry can contribute to healthier living spaces and a better quality of life for all occupants.

By staying informed and committed to the principles of REACH, designers can provide peace of mind to their clients and exemplify the best in sustainable and responsible design practice.

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REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals) , Explained

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Christi Farrell

Christi is a licensed architect and interior designer specializing in sustainability. She enjoys teaching design and bringing transparency to the impact that furniture has on our planet.

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