SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 093/16

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Commission Regulation (EU) No. 848/2012 amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) as regards the restriction of phenylmercury compounds will become effective on 10th October 2017.

REACH Annex XVII sets out the list of restrictions on the manufacture, placement in the market and use of certain dangerous chemical substances, mixtures and articles. On 19th September 2012, an amendment to REACH Annex XVII was published concerning phenylmercury compounds and related restrictions on their use. The amendment information is outlined below.

  • Commission Regulation (EU) No. 848/2012 added Entry 62 to Annex XVII. Under Entry 62, the following 5 phenylmercury compounds are not to be manufactured, placed on the market or used as a substance or in mixtures, in articles or parts of articles if the concentration of mercury is equal to or greater than 0.01% by weight.  This restriction becomes effective on  10th October 2017:

table 1:

Substance CAS No. EC No.
Phenylmercury acetate 62-38-4 200-532-5
Phenylmercury propionate 103-27-5 203-094-3
Phenylmercury 2-ethylhexanoate 13302-00-6 236-326-7
Phenylmercury octanoate 13864-38-5 --
Phenylmercury neodecanoate 26545-49-3 247-783-7

According to the regulation, the five phenylmercury compounds are mainly used as catalysts in the production of polyurethane coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers. The mercury catalysts are incorporated into the polymer structure and remain in the final article. The life-cycle of the phenylmercury compounds leads to the release of mercury to the environment and adds to the overall emissions of mercury.

Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans, ecosystems and wildlife, with mercury toxicity most commonly affecting the neurologic, gastrointestinal and renal organ systems. Poisoning can result from mercury vapor inhalation, mercury ingestion, mercury injection and absorption of mercury through the skin. In particular, the phenylmercury compounds degrade in the environment and result in degradation products including methylmercury. Methylmercury may be considered to be a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substance (PBTs). The use of mercury and its compounds is heavily regulated in order to eliminate or reduce exposure to mercury and its compounds.

Commission Regulation (EU) No. 848/2012

Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy, for restricted substances in consumer products for Europe and international markets. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

For enquiries, please contact:

Louann Spirito
Director Technical Support, Softlines
t: +1 973 461 7919

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