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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).

  • South Korea Recommends Formation of Separate Consortiums for Nanomaterial Registration under K-REACH

      November 13, 2019    Nadine He    549

    Takehome: South Korea follows the definition of nanomaterials under EU REACH and recommends formation of separate consortiums for nanomaterial registration as there are significant differences in the hazardous properties of substances in nanoparticle form. Guidance on...
  • Korea MoE Pledges Support for Industry During Chemical Regulatory Compliance

      November 7, 2019    Nora Wang    696

    Takehome: In response to media stories claiming that K-REACH regulations are plaguing chemical businesses, the Korea MoE published an explanation to reiterate the government’s support for chemical registration. Ever since its introduction and implementation,...
  • South Korea Requires Downstream Information of Registered New Chemicals

      November 7, 2019    Nadine He    759

    Takehome: The OSHA requires new chemical registrants to submit downstream information by Nov 22nd, 2019. Priority targets are registered new chemicals suspected as being carcinogenic or posing other serious health risks.
  • South Korea Updates GHS Classification List

      October 24, 2019    Nadine He    941

    Takehome: 18 substances have been newly classified as toxic and provided with classification and labeling information. Classification and labeling information has been updated for 8 previously published substances, including 6 toxic substances and 2 accident...
  • 16,743 Existing Substances Pre-registered under K-REACH

      October 22, 2019    Nadine He    673

    Takehome: 171,932 pre-registration applications were submitted for 16,743 chemical substances. 11% of the pre-registered substances are over 1,000 t/y. Designated CMR substances with a volume over 1 t/y and the general existing substances over 1,000 t/y should be...
  • South Korea Designates 18 New Toxic Chemicals

      October 18, 2019    Nadine He    764

    Takehome: 18 new substances were listed as toxic chemical substances after hazard evaluation under K-REACH. They are still considered new chemical substances in South Korea and require new chemical registration other than the original registrants. Transitional...