ECHA’s Forum REF-8 project report has found most of the 5,730 products inspected, which were sold online, breached CLP, REACH and/or BPR regulations. The project resulted in more than 5,000 enforcement actions.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer ProductsNO. 166/21

 SG 16621 Chemical

On December 8, 2021, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced its assessment report for the REACH-EN-FORCE-8 project (REF-8 project), an EU-wide enforcement project carried out during 2020 to measure compliance with certain duties for substances, mixtures and articles in products sold online.

The evaluation was based on three important pieces of EU legislation:

  • Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 ‘Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures’ (CLP Regulation, consolidated version to October 2021):
    • Whether the type of hazard on the label of a hazardous mixture is communicated to customers in online advertisements
    • Whether customers are informed about the hazard class and/or the type of hazard category in hazardous substances
  • Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 ‘Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals’ (REACH, consolidated version to October 2021):
    • Whether the latest version of the safety data sheet (SDS) is supplied/available with the hazardous substance or mixture for industrial/professional uses in the official language of the receiving member state or upon request
    • Whether products/articles comply with specific entries under Annex XVII of REACH
  • Regulation (EU) 528/2012 ‘Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR, consolidated version to June 2021):
    • Whether BPR duties are fulfilled, including whether the sale of the biocidal product (BP) was authorized or made available under transitional measures  

Except for private sellers, web shops and marketplaces selling or mediating online, hazardous substances, mixtures, biocidal products or articles that are subject to REACH, CLP and/or BPR requirements were targeted.

The inspections were carried out by 28 European Economic Area (EEA) member states and Switzerland (BPR duties only). These 29 countries evaluated a total of 5,730 products/offers, of which 323 were substances (6%), 4,631 mixtures (81%) and 776 articles (13%). From the evaluations, 78% of products violated REACH restrictions, 77% for non-compliance with BPR Article 72 ‘Advertising’ and the illegal sale of biocides, and 75% for breaching advertising obligations under CLP Article 48 ‘Advertisement,’

It is important to note that 1,855 out of 1,874 products containing CMR substances under entries 28-30 of Annex XVII of REACH were found to be non-compliant (99%) – these substances are only allowed to be sold to professional users, but were found to have been offered to the general public. For non-compliant products, the most follow-up actions taken by enforcement authorities include:

  • Removing the product offer from the website (BPR, 2,140 products, 53%)
  • Bringing the information in the advertisement into compliance (928 products, 23%)
  • Removing the non-compliant advertisement (278 products, 7%)

Highlights of inspected products for compliance with Annex XVII of REACH are summarized in Table 1. 

European Chemicals Agency 
Forum REACH-EN-FORCE-8 (REF- 8) Project Report on Enforcement of CLP, REACH and BPR Duties Related to Substances, Mixtures and Articles Sold Online, December 2021

Entry to Annex
XVII of REACH
Substance/Scope Number of Products Inspected
% Non-compliance
 6  Asbestos fibers  15  100%
 23  Cadmium – plastic materials  6  33%
 Cadmium – jewelry  340  23%
 27  Nickel – jewelry  302  5%
 28-30   CMR substance – lead  1, 693  99%
 CMR substance – boric acid  135  100%
 CMR substance – formaldehyde  7  86%
 CMR substance – disodium tetraborate  8  75%
 CMR substance – others  31  58%
 43  Azocolorants and azodyes – leather  1  0%
 Azocolorants and azodyes – textiles  31  0%
 47  Chromium (VI) – leather articles  76  8%
 48  Toluene  18  11%
 50  Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons  43  9%
 51  BBP, DBP, DEHP and DIBP – toys  82  15%
 BBP, DBP, DEHP and DIBP – childcare articles  24  0%
 52  DIDP, DINP and DNOP – toys  94  2%
 DIDP, DINP and DNOP – childcare articles  28  0%
 56  Methylenediphenyl diisocyanate (MDI)  13  54%
 63  Lead – jewelry  337  9%
 Lead – articles   7  29%
 66  Bisphenol A (BPA)  12  8%
 67  Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE)  1  0%
 69  Methanol   46  20%

Table 1

Definitions

Item

Abbreviation

Name

CAS Number

1  BBP  Benzyl butyl phthalate  85-68-7
 2  DBP  Dibutyl phthalate  84-74-2
 3  DEHP  Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate  117-81-7
 4  DIBP  Diisobutyl phthalate  84-69-5
 5  DIDP  Diisodecyl phthalate  26761-40-0 and 68515-49-1
 6  DINP  Diisononyl phthalate  28553-12-0 and 68515-48-0
 7  DNOP  Di-n-octyl phthalate  117-84-0

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