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In Tests a Majority of Products Sold Online Were Found to Violate EU Chemical Laws

SafeGuardSHG Restricted Substances, SL Restricted SubstancesDecember 21, 2021

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.

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
Substance/ScopeNumber 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





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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