European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) - (Decentralised Agencies)

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Decentralised Agencies

Decentralised agencies contribute to the implementation of EU policies. They also support cooperation between the EU and national governments by pooling technical and specialist expertise from both the EU institutions and national authorities. Decentralised agencies are set up for an indefinite period and are located across the EU.


European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)



  • Role: ECHA works for the safe use of chemicals
  • Director: Bjorn Hansen
  • Established in: 2007
  • Number of staff: about 600
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
  • Website: ECHA

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) works for the safe use of chemicals. It implements the EU's groundbreaking chemicals legislation, benefiting human health, the environment and innovation and competitiveness in Europe.


What it does

  • Help companies comply with specific EU legislation on chemicals or biocides:
  • Cooperate with international organisations & stakeholders to promote safe use of chemicals
  • Provide information on chemicals & their safe use through a unique free database
  • Work with the European Commission & EU governments to identify substances that give cause for concern & take decisions on EU-level risk management
  • Encourage innovation in the chemical industry by replacing substances that give cause for concern.



ECHA’s Executive Director manages the day-to-day work and reports to a Management Board comprising representatives of:

  • all EU countries
  • the European Commission
  • the European Parliament
  • stakeholders.

The Board also has observers from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Read more about ECHA's organisational structure


How it works

The European Chemicals Agency regulates chemicals and biocides on the EU market. It processes files on chemicals from industry and examines them to see if they comply with legislation. Together with the EU national governments, ECHA focuses on the most hazardous substances, in cases where further risk management might be needed to protect people and the environment. In specific areas, it takes its own decisions; in others, it gives opinions and advice to help the European Commission take decisions.

ECHA works with almost 100 accredited stakeholder organisations across the EU.

It provides dedicated support to small and medium-sized companies.


Who benefits

  • Members of the public & the environment are less exposed to hazardous chemicals & benefit from safer products. Consumers can ask about hazardous chemicals in the products they buy.
  • Workers & other users of chemicals benefit from improved information about the hazards of chemicals they handle, & how to use them safely.
  • Industry is helped to comply with legislation. Innovative companies can take advantage of the need to phase out the most hazardous substances.
  • Developing countries receive information on how to handle hazardous chemicals safely.


See also

About ECHA

Job vacancies


Subscribe to ECHA’s e-news

Information on chemicals

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