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South Korea

K-REACH and Chemical Control Act came into simultaneous effect on the 1 Jan 2015 replacing their predecessor the TCCA. These new regulatory frameworks establish a more effective chemical regulatory management scheme in Korea. The OSHA mainly regulates chemical substances that pose risks to employees to ensure workers’ health and safety in workplace.



The Act on Registration and Evaluation, etc. of Chemical Substances (K-REACH) was passed by the National Assembly on 30 Apr 2013 as Law No.11789. It came into force on 1 Jan 2015. K-REACH follows the basic concept of EU REACH which South Korea has adapted to meet the demands of its own chemical management program regulating the registration and evaluation of new and existing chemical substances.

The K-REACH subordinate statutes, the Presidential Decree (also known as the Enforcement Decree) and the Ministerial Decree (also known as the Enforcement Rules) detail management of chemicals and downstream products, and specify and elucidate the registration requirements and any possible registration exemptions, etc.



South Korea’s Chemicals Control Act (CCA) was issued as Presidential Decree No. 11862 on 4 June 2013 and came into force on 1 Jan 2015. The CCA Enforcement Decree and Enforcement Rules, known as the main supporting documents, specify the regulatory provisions throughout the chemical chain of custody including initial market access, distribution, handling and disposal of chemicals. The CCA strengthens the licensing management for businesses including risk management and preparation of off-site impact analysis report.



South Korea’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) ensure proper compliance with workers’ health and safety in workplace. Companies should register new chemical substances under OSHA as well as K-REACH. The new requirements for new chemical management under Korea OSHA have been effective on 1 May 2016. OSHA also requires any person who transfers or supplies a chemical substance or preparations to classify the chemical if classification criteria are applicable and to prepare SDS and labels accordingly.  


Korea GHS

Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) on April 6 of 2016 published the revised Standards for Classification and Labeling of Chemical Substances and Material Safety Data Sheet by Public Notice No.2016-19, which entered into force immediately. Transitional measures are granted under which classification, labeling and SDS prepared in accordance with the previous version of Public Notice No.2013-37 are acceptable until April 6, 2017. 

By adopting the hazard category “hazardous to the ozone layer” and revising some of the hazard statements and precautionary statements, the new standards update the 2013 standards (MOEL Public Notice No.2013-37) to align with UN GHS Rev.4 (2011).

  • MoE Responds to Korean Media’s Criticism of CCA and K-REACH

      August 7, 2019    Horace Wang    577

    Takehome: MoE has reiterated its stance on the importance of CCA and K-REACH in safeguarding national safety and preventing chemical accidents. MoE used the 2011 humidifier disinfectant disaster and the 2012 Gumi hydrofluoric acid leakage accident to remind...
  • South Korea Consults on Updates to GHS Classification List

      August 7, 2019    Nadine He    551

    Takehome Classification and labeling information will be updated for 7 previously published toxic substances and 2 accident precaution chemicals. 33 substances will be designated as toxic chemicals providing with classification and labelling information, of...
  • South Korea to Offer Temporary Preferential Policies for Companies Affected by Japan’s Export Curbs

      August 5, 2019    Nadine He    567

    Takehome: Japan’s Cabinet has approved the removal of South Korea from its whitelist of preferential export screening partners, which will take effect on Aug 28th. South Korea will institute temporary preferential measures to help Korean companies affected by Japan’s...
  • South Korea Launches K-REACH Late Pre-registration

      July 26, 2019    Nadine He    658

    South Korea’s pre-registration of existing chemical substances ended on Jun 30th, 2019. Registrants that missed the pre-registration deadline, are in principle ineligible for follow-up manufacture or import in South Korea. However, the IT system for pre-registration...
  • South Korea Consults on 33 New Toxic Chemical Substances

      July 24, 2019    Nadine He    659

    Published on Jul 18th, 2019 by NIER Notice No. 2019-285, South Korea's National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) is now consulting on potential updates on the Toxic Chemical Substance List (TCSL). Any comments are welcome before Aug 24th, 2019.
  • MoE Deny Environmental Regulations Hinder Localization of Semiconductor Materials

      July 17, 2019    Horace Wang    548

    Takehome: In South Korea, the localization of semiconductor materials has been heatedly discussed, and MoE's environmental regulations are considered to be the main resistance to localization. MoE published an explanation that environmental regulations have...