How far does the REACH reach?
What every producer / importer needs to know about REACH regulation.
REACH is an EU law regulating chemicals, introducing restrictions for their supply and trade. Adopted in 2006, directly applicable in every community country. As it namely applies to chemical substances many producers of articles have no idea how far REACH rules regulate their own merchandise. BUT BEWARE! REACH regulates almost every single product available on EU market.
In fact, the common goods are most prone to be in breach of the regulation. Moreover, such breach would constitute far greater risk to consumers. The latter lack both (in opposite to chemical supply chain actors): awareness of which substances may harm them, and feasibility to verify the chemical composition of the product. It’s mainly the dangerous cmr substances (carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction) that REACH is aiming to eliminate from articles traded within EU.
The greatest hazard posed by articles results from lack of awareness of legal regulations such as REACH on the producers’ and importers’ side.
So what is it in particular that producers, importers and distributors from community markets should know about?
REACH introduces 3 kinds of restrictions towards articles and their chemical composition.
I. Articles containing a substance that is intended (or foreseen) to be released. Example: scented erasers, candles.
Article 7 of REACH poses an obligation on every manufacturer and importer of such product to make a registration with ECHA (European Chemical Agency). This applies only if the subject chemical amounts to 1 tonne / year / producer.
Our advice: if you manufacture or import that kind of goods you should keep track of such released substance, its content ratio and the total amount brought to the EU within calendar year.
II. Articles that contain substances named in annex XIV to REACH. It’s all about the svhc list – substances of very high concern (not to be confused with so called svhc candidate list). If:
- an article contains such substance in concentration greater than 0.1% by weight, and
- the annual production/import per trader reaches amount of 1 tonne,
the producer / importer is obliged to make a notification of it to ECHA.
Our advice: Every manufacturer and importer shall have their own due diligence program to check for presence of above mentioned substances in their products, based on occurrence risk for each particular material. Based on internal work or lab testing performed by authorized unit data on chemical percentage composition shall be gathered. One need to keep in mind that that the annex XIV list is being extended every few months. The most recent one you can find under this link.
III. Articles, which contain substances mentioned in annex XVII to REACH. This restriction is by far the most significant one, as it applies to the widest range of products. It’s introduced by art. 67 of REACH as general ban on manufacture, marketing and usage of products that do not comply with restrictions of annex XVII.
The chemicals named in annex XVII are such a significant threat to human health and life that the lawmaker neither requires a registration nor a notification. Rather introduces a total ban on trading with products containing substances against annex XVII rules.
Our advice: Every producer and importer shall elaborate and conduct their own due diligence program (with occurance risk in mind, for particular materials that the product is made from). We suggest to be particularly vigilant when you trade with:
- Construction materials and articles
- Wood and wooden products
- Fabrics and everyday usage (prolonged contact with skin) products that are made of textiles (bed sheets, clothes, etc.)
- Jewellery and watches
- Paints (and painted articles)
- Plastics and products with plastic elements
- Adhesives and products using those.