EU REACH Enforcement Project Launched

REACH is now being aggressively enforced. If you are selling into the EU and do not have compliance data available, you have very real exposure.

The Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement (Forum) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of the REACH, CLP and PIC regulations in the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The Forum has announced the first EU wide project focused on articles, beginning in October, 2017. Electronic products have been considered articles since the fall of 2015.

Until now, enforcement action has focused on the upstream, such as chemical registrations, Safety Data Sheets and their quality. Widespread evidence of non-compliance has been discovered by certain Market Surveillance Authorities (MSAs) and campaign groups. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) also points out that it has received fewer notifications than it would have expected.

While these obligations apply to all SVHCs, there will be a particular focus on the following substances:

  • brominated flame retardants (HBCDD used in expanded polystyrene foam but also as in encapsulants – note that this is restricted in the EU as a POP)
  • phosphorous flame retardants (TXP used in PVC and other polymers)
  • phthalates (used to soften plastics and rubbers)
  • short-chain chloroparaffins (SCCP) (another plasticizer and flame retardant, also now banned in the EU as a POP)
  • aprotic polar solvents (dimethylformamide and N-methyl pyrrolidone, used in some electrolytic capacitors)
  • perfluorinated substances (PFOS which is most likely to found in textile and leather goods)
  • phenolic benzotriazoles (e.g. the four UV stabilizers on the candidate list which might be found in polymers, sealants, adhesives, etc.)

These requirements fall primarily on those who make, import or distribute articles (hardware products, components etc.). Such companies should be aware they may be contacted by their national MSA – particularly if they are in the consumer market or the articles they deal with have a high risk of containing SVHCs. Other target areas include electronics, building materials and “interior articles”.

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