by Dr. Martina Schneider
The Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement (Forum) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of the REACH, CLP and other chemical regulations in the European Union (EU).
From October 2017 until December 2018, the Forum conducted a pilot project concerning the communication and notification obligations of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) on the Candidate List in articles sold on the European market.
According to REACH Article 33, companies need to inform professional customers about the presence of SVHCs (which are present above 0.1%) that are on the Candidate List for authorisation. Companies need to provide sufficient information to allow the safe use of the article containing the Candidate list substance. As a minimum, the name of the substance must be provided. Upon request of a consumer, the same information should be provided within 45 days.
Fifteen Member States participated in the inspection project. In total, 405 companies were inspected and 682 articles (selected as they were likely to contain SVHCs) were investigated, mainly consumer articles (i.e., clothing, footwear and home textiles), electronic products, interior articles and plastic and rubber articles. Most of the articles were analyzed for SVHCs by the inspecting authorities. The Forum has now published the findings in its first version of the report about this harmonised enforcement project.
The key finding was that 12% of the inspected articles contained SVHCs (in a concentration greater than 0.1%) from the Candidate list. Not surprisingly, phthalates were the most commonly found substance. Among those 12%, the majority were considered to be non-compliant, since the communication requirement was not fulfilled or did not include information on the safe use. In total, 88% of the audited companies failed to communicate sufficient information due to lack of receiving the correct information from their supplier or simply not providing the required information pointing to communication failures throughout the article’s supply chain.
ECHA is urging companies to improve the communication of hazardous substances in their products. The findings of the project will be analyzed for further actions, e.g., increasing awareness inside and outside the European Union to improve the situation. Together with the new requirements to provide information to the Substances of Concern in Products (SCIP) Database, the management of information on SVHCs in the supply chain becomes more important than ever.
- Improve communication with your suppliers and customers on SVHCs and check if the products you are receiving contain SVHCs.
- If you have communication requirements for SVHCs, make sure you are communicating the needed information, keeping in mind that the name of the SVHC might not be sufficient
- Have the appropriate documentation available in case of inspection by the Member State authorities.
FORUM Substances in Articles Pilot project report: https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/13577/sia_pilot_project_report_en.pdf/f9fc153b-a322-43be-1ba1-44f4e5cb02c8
Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH): https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32006R1907
Guidance on substances in articles: https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/23036412/articles_en.pdf
- European Union
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