In 2001, the European Union announced a new chemical management system called REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals. This ended 26 years of a hopeless policy in which the EU was unable to gain knowledge of around 95,000 chemicals, most of which had been on the market for decades, and in which the risks posed by each chemical were managed separately and without respecting the need for precautionary control. Over a period of eleven years, 30,000 chemicals will be entered into this new system whereby all information has to be provided and only safe chemicals would continue to remain in the market. The costs are estimated at EUR 1-7 billion, which over 11 years is around 0.1% of the annual sales of the chemicals industry.
IPCS has four main projects to support national poison control programmes, which through a worldwide network of poison information centres and related medical and analytical toxicology facilities, provide information on a 24-hour basis.