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Legal Basis

To grant exemption from REACH (article 2.3) involves integrating a legal basis into the French code. This requires 3 hierarchic levels of code:

  • The legislative part L.521-1 of French environmental code has been modified by an ordinance in 2009, 26th February, integrating the part III that allows administrative authorities to grant exemptions from REACh in specific cases for certain substances, on their own, in a preparation or in an article, where necessary in the interests of defence.
  • The regulative part R.521-1 of French environmental code have been created by a decree issued in 2010, 17th February, that details the procedure for acknowledgment (see Conditions/procedures for acknowledgment of this page) and content of the decision.
  • An Order, forecasted by the previous decree, issued in 2011, 22th March details the national procedure (see Description of national Procedure on this page).

Description of National Procedure

The applicant will transmit an exemption dossier, made of an administrative dossier and a technical dossier, to the MOD and the Ministry in charge Of Environmental affairs (MOE) as follows:

  • The administrative dossier, which aim is to give a quick overview of the relevance of the exemption dossier. It must provide the following information:
    • name(s) and reference(s) of applicant(s)
    • names and references of beneficiaries if they differ from applicant(s)
    • reasons of the exemption application
    • reference(s) of concerned substance(s), mixture(s) or article(s)
    • their uses and quantities
    • concerned defence operation(s) and justification of defence interest
    • start date and desired duration of defence exemption
    • REACH obligation(s) to which it seems impossible to conform

Two copies of this sub-dossier will be sent to both MOD and MOE, against a receipt of deposit.

  • The technical dossier features:
    • A “defence interest” sub-dossier which contains all the information useful to testify the necessity to apply for a defence exemption. It must go further into information given by the administrative dossier. Detailed composition of the “defence interest” sub-dossier is described in annex I of the decree as follows:
      • Reference(s) of defence operation(s)
      • MOD’s department in charge
      • Purpose of the dossier
      • Role of the applicant(s)
      • Contraints in terms of calendar of the applicant(s)
      • Accurate description of the substance(s), mixture(s) or article(s), featuring technical reference(s), trade name(s) and considered suppliers.
      • Use of the product for which the exemption is requested and full description of its implementation into the supply chain of the operation(s). The role of each applicant and beneficiary must also be explained.
      • Specific use of the product for the operation(s) and criticality of the product for obtaining targeted performances.
      • Reasons which make compliance to REACH obligations impossible, adding encountered difficulties and concerned beneficiaries.
      • Analysis of possible alternatives at all levels (technological, industrial, conceptual, procurement). The analysis must detail advantages and drawbacks of each solution in terms of performances, costs, deadlines, durability, and security of procurements
      • Description of international initiatives and their results if the exemption request relates to international issues such as exemption dossiers in other countries, distributed production, import/export

Two copies of this sub-dossier will be sent to the MOD only.

  • A “risks mitigation” sub-dossier which features national safeguard measures that will be taken by applicant(s), in case the defence exemption would be granted. Each health and environmental risk linked to the manufacture and use of substance(s), mixture(s) or article(s) will be detailed. Information to be provided in this sub-dossier depends on the REACH obligation(s) to which it seems impossible to conform.


Two copies of this sub-dossier will be sent to both MOE and MOD.

Description of National Safeguard Measures

National Safeguard Measures mirror those imposed by REACH.

See “risks mitigation” sub-dossier in the “Description of National Procedure”.

National Bodies Involved

The setup of the defence exemption procedure is led by the MOD in connection with MOE.

Where to File an Application

It is recommended to have a preliminary contact with:

Ministère des armées (MOD)


Environmental office

Postal address: 60 Boulevard du Général Martial Valin – CS21623 F-75509 Paris Cedex 15, France


Conditions/Procedures for Acknowledgment/Recognition of Foreign Defence Exemptions

The Defence interest will be assessed by the MOD then MOE will contribute to the health and environmental risks assessment. The final decision will be taken by both MOD and MOE with possible exceptions. The only exception to this rule applies to emergency situations: in such cases, MOD alone will take the decision.

The final decision granting the defence exemption is notified to applicants and beneficiaries and features:

  • Name of applicants and beneficiaries if they differ from applicants
  • Substance(s), mixture(s) or article(s) concerned by the exemption
  • Defence exemption’s national number
  • Concerned defence operation(s)
  • Concerned quantities
  • Scope
  • Limite of validity of the defence exemption
  • Deadline for requesting an extension of this exemption
  • Potential obligations those beneficiaries have to respect, especially in terms of risk mitigation.

Number of Exemptions Granted

Total 3 defence exemptions has been granted to date.

Contact Info

Ministère de des armées (MOD)

DGA/DT (Technical Directorate)

Materials, Components & Environmental risk division

Postal address: PC 62, 60 Boulevard du Général Martial Valin – CS21623 F – 75509 Paris Cedex 15, France

Link to national web site(s) (if any)

French MOD website:

French MOE website:


Last Update: 23 November 2021