ECHA issues first report on its Harmonized Enforcement Project on Substance Restrictions
On February 8, 2018 ECHA published its first report on joint market surveillance to evaluate compliance to substance restrictions according to REACH Annex XVII. Contributions to this report have been received from 27 countries which reported on 5625 product checks during the project.
SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 022/18
The aim of the REACH-EN-FORCE project was to increase awareness of REACH Annex XVII substance restrictions. During the project, EU market surveillance authorities engaged to identify REACH Annex XVII non-compliances, and to follow-up with enforcement action. The aim was to achieve better compliance and thus a greater health and environmental protection.
27 participating countries reported their results, gathered from 5,625 product checks . These product checks covered 17 substances, 1,009 mixtures and 4,599 articles. The scope of the project covered 14 different restriction entries in REACH Annex XVII. In addition to those 14 product checks, some countries checked eight additional entries. These additional cases are also incorporated into the figures presented in this report.
Table 1 summarizes the REACH Annex XVI entries related substances and tested products:
|REACH Annex XVII entry||Substances||Products in focus|
|5||Benzene||Glues for consumers and professionals|
|6||Asbestos fibers||in articles|
|23||Cadmium and its compounds||Plastic materials/packaging and other articles, brazing fillers and jewelry|
|27||Nickel and its compounds||Jewelry and metal parts (e.g. buttons, zippers)|
|32||Chloroform||Glues for consumers and professionals|
|43||Azocolorants and Azodyes||Textile and leather articles|
|45||Octabromo Diphenylether (Octa-BDE)||Substances and mixtures and articles|
|47||Chromium VI compounds||Leather articles and cement|
|48||Toluene||Adhesives and spray paints intended for supply to the general public|
|49||Trichlorobenzene||Substances and mixtures|
|50||Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)||Articles for supply to the general public|
|51, 52||Phthalates||Toys and childcare articles|
|63||Lead and its compounds||Jewelry|
The rate of compliance to REACH restrictions for the products checked was 82% with an average non-compliance rate of 18%. According to ECHA, this level of non-compliance is considered high as REACH restrictions are assigned to the use of chemicals with the highest risks to health or the environment.
The highest rates of non-compliance were found for phthalates in toys. For entries 51 and 52 where 19.7% and 10.4%, respectively, have been found not in line with REACH substance restrictions. Phthalates in childcare articles have a slightly better compliance rate where less than 10% of the checked products contained restricted phthalates. According to ECHA the non-compliance rates determined for phthalates are very high considering that these restrictions are in place to protect children from harmful chemicals and that they have been in force for many years.
The second highest rate was found for cadmium in brazing fillers (Entry 23) where a 14.1% non-compliance rate was determined.
Despite the fact that a substance restriction for asbestos (Entry 6) has been in place for many years, 13.6 % of products checked were non-compliant. The non-compliant articles were mainly from the second-hand market and it is possible that the articles may have been produced before the restriction of asbestos fibers was in force. Despite this practice it is prohibited to make any asbestos containing products available on the market including second-hand products.
Other non-compliance findings concern chromium (VI) in leather products (13.3%), nickel in metal parts of textiles (11.1%), PAH in rubber or plastic parts of articles (7.9%) and heavy metals in jewelry (cadmium 12.1%, nickel 7.9%, and lead 6.7%).
Significant numbers of non-compliant products, according to REACH Annex XVII substance restrictions, are placed on the EU/EEA market as indicated by the results of the enforcement project. According to ECHA the only way to improve compliance is to influence and enhance the responsibility of companies in the supply chain since the non-compliance indicators relating to REACH substance restrictions, like the look or smell of a product, are insufficient. Information about the chemical composition of products must be provided by suppliers, and companies in the supply chain need to have agreements in force to provide information on chemical composition. ECHA’s key message is that it is not worth selling non-compliant products further in the supply chain. In addition, the report highlights that enforcement authorities need to continue enforcing the REACH restrictions by analyzing products on the market. Results of such enforcement actions can be found in the Rapid Alert System (RAPEX)  of the European Commission.
SGS will follow up and inform interested parties as developments in the REACH regulation occur. Our expertise combined with consultancy services and experience in consumer product supply chains provides a central point of contact for global solutions. If you would like to learn more about how SGS can support your REACH compliance activities please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sgs.com/reach.
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