FIRA has launched a new service to help companies comply with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals), a system of regulations controlling chemicals in the EU.

The REACH Awareness Service provides FIRA members with a suite of information and guidance on the regulations, including: REACH Guidance Sheet, Glossary and Timeline; a series of Substance Information Sheets applicable to the industry; and substance databases.

Compliance with REACH is essential for all companies supplying products into and across the EU. However, given the complexity of the regulations, and the onerous supplier obligations, this is a significant challenge facing many companies in the furniture industry.

Originally implemented in 1997, REACH replaced a number of previously separate EU directives and regulations concerning the control of hazardous substances into a single, harmonised system of control. REACH transfers responsibility for the safe use of chemicals from governments to industry and, therefore, affects the entire supply chain including manufacturers, importers and their customers.

The regulations apply to all substances used across the EU, either on their own, in preparations or in articles such as sofas and mattresses. Examples of chemicals used in the furniture industry that are already controlled by REACH include coatings, pigments, dyes and inks, flame retardants and plasticisers.

James Bell, environmental consultant at FIRA, says: “FIRA’s REACH Awareness Service is specifically designed to provide key support to the furniture industry in understanding and meeting their legal obligations under REACH, a notoriously complex set of regulations. Several substances widely used in the industry, particularly flame retardants and plasticisers, are facing restriction and, therefore, the service aims to provide a key point of reference for the industry. Moreover, the service will be updated on a regular basis.”

The service can be accessed here. Further information is available from James Bell, FIRA’s environmental consultant, on, or call 01438 777602.