Information from the Existing Substances Regulation (ESR)
Before REACH entered into force, chemicals were regulated by a number of different regulations and directives. The Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 -- also known as the Existing Substances Regulation (ESR) -- was one of these. It introduced a comprehensive framework for the evaluation and control of "existing substances" (substances on the market before 1982).
The ESR stated that the Commission, in consultation with the Member States, would regularly draw up lists of priority substances which require immediate attention because of their potential effects to human health or the environment. Between 1994 and 2007 (the entry into force of REACH), four such priority lists were published, with a total of 141 substances.