The EU has published its POPs Recast Regulation. The new law repeals the POP Regulation and will become effective on July 15, 2019.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 095/19

SafeGuardS chemicals 344x228

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic organic chemicals of global concern due to their ability for long range transport, persistence in the environment, and bio-accumulate in the fatty tissues of organisms. Exposures to these chemicals can lead to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive and immune dysfunction, and neurobehavior and developmental disorders.

In April 2004, the European Union (EU) published Regulation (EC) 850/2004, a comprehensive piece of legislation for the management of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) listed in the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution on POPs (‘the Protocol’) and the Stockholm Convention on POPs (‘the Convention’). The POPs Regulation contains five Annexes:

  • Annex I
    • Part A ‘Substances listed in the Convention and in the Protocol as well as substances listed only in the Convention’
    • Part B ‘Substances listed only in the Protocol’
  • Annex II ‘List of substances subject to restriction’
    • Part A ‘Substances listed in the Convention and in the Protocol’
    • Part B ‘Substances listed only in the Protocol’
  • Annex III ‘List of substances subject to release reduction provisions’
  • Annex IV ‘List of substances subject to waste management provisions set out in Article 7’
  • Annex V ‘Waste management’
    • Part 1 ‘Disposal and recovery under Article 7(2)’
    • Part 2 ‘Wastes and operations to which Article 7(4)(b) applies’

The POPs Regulation has since been amended on 12 occasions and the number of POPs under Part A of Annex I have evolved to 21 chemicals.

On June 25, 2019 the EU published Regulation (EU) 2019/1021, recasting the POPs Regulation (‘POPs Recast Regulation’). This new law contains several important changes to the POPs Regulation. These include, inter alia, the following:

  • Using consistent language for certain definitions and terminologies with those in Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 ‘Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals’ (REACH) and Directive 2008/98/EC (Waste Framework Directive) for better clarity
  • Strengthening of the EU’s processes and procedures with the support of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for listing POP chemicals
  • Ensuring effective coordination and management of technical and administrative aspects between the ECHA and Member States, including activities and the exchange of information in the Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement under REACH
  • Changes to certain restriction limits for tetra-, penta-, hexa- and heptabromodiphenyl ethers falling under Part A of Annex I when these flame retardants are present as an unintentional trace contaminant
  • Completely new entries for decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE) and, pentachlorophenol (PCP) and its salts and esters in Part A of Annex I; with some exemptions for Deca-BDE, including electrical and electronic equipment within the scope of Directive 2011/65/EC (RoHS II)
  • Transferring hexachlorobutadiene, polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) and short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) from Part B of Annex I to Part A of Annex I
  • Expanding the number of POPs in Annex III from five to seven
  • Completely new entry for Deca-BDE as part of the polybromodiphenyl ether family under Annex IV

When pentabromodiphenyl ether (penta-BDE) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and its derivatives (PFOS and its derivatives) were added to the POPs Regulation, their entries were subsequently deleted from Annex XVII of REACH by legislation (Safeguard 55/11). By listing Deca-BDE under the POPs Recast Regulation, Deca-BDE under entry 67 to Annex XVII of REACH is expected to be deleted officially.

The POPs Recast Regulation repeals the POP Regulations and will become effective on July 15, 2019.

Highlights of the polybromodiphenyl ether flame retardants and PCP in Part A of Annex I in POPs Recast Regulation and a comparison with the POPs Regulation are summarized in Table 1

Persistent Organic Pollutants
Annex I Part A ‘Substances Listed in the Convention and in the Protocol as well as Substances Listed only in the Convention’
‘Specific exemption on Intermediate Use or other Specification’
Substance Regulation (EU) 2019/1021
(POPs Recast)
Regulation (EU) 850/2004
Tetra-*, penta-*, hexa-* hepta-* and deca-BDE*
(as an unintentional trace contaminant)
≤ 10 mg/kg each in substances ≤ 10 mg/kg each of tetra-, penta-, hexa- and hepta-BDE in substances, preparations, articles or parts thereof
(Deca-BDE not listed)
≤ 500 mg/kg (sum in mixtures or articles)
(subject to review by July 16, 2021)
PCP, its salts and esters No specific exemption on intermediate use or other specification Not listed
Effective Date July 15, 2019 Repeal by POPs Recast on July 15, 2019
*Certain exemptions apply

Table 1

SGS has published a white paper to provide an overview of POPs within the consumer goods industry. Please obtain your copy here.

SGS is committed to providing information about development in regulations for consumer products as complimentary services. Through a global network of laboratories, SGS provides a wide range of services including physical/mechanical testing, analytical testing and consultancy work for technical and non-technical parameters applicable to a comprehensive range of consumer products. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Next Step

Stakeholders are advised to comply with the latest requirements in the POPs Recast Regulation for the EU market.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: +(852) 2774 7420

Stay on top of regulatory changes within your industry: subscribe to SafeGuardS!

Read more articles for the Consumer Goods and Retail industry

© SGS Group Management SA - 2019 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.