Our coverage of EU REACH in C2P has supported clients in proactively planning and responding to the regulation since it was proposed.
The EU’s Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, commonly known as REACH, was enacted to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment, including the promotion of alternative methods for assessment of hazards of substances, as well as the free circulation of substances on the internal market while enhancing competitiveness and innovation.
REACH applies to all chemical substances; not only those used in industrial processes but also in consumers’ day-to-day lives, for example in chemical products, such as household cleaning products and paints, as well as in articles, such as apparel, furniture and electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). Therefore, the regulation has an impact on most companies across the EU, as well as affecting manufacturers exporting components to manufacturers based in the EU.
REACH places the burden of proof on companies. To comply with the regulation, companies must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. They have to demonstrate to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) how the substance can be safely used, and they must communicate the risk management measures to the users.
If the risks cannot be managed, authorities can restrict the use of substances in different ways. Annex XVII of the regulation outlines restrictions on certain dangerous substances, mixtures and articles, including restrictions on:
- Asbestos fibers in articles
- Benzene in toys
- Cadmium in specified synthetic organic polymers
- Chloroethene (vinyl chloride) as propellants in aerosols
- Mercury in fever thermometers and other measuring devices, such as manometers, barometers, sphygmomanometers and thermometers other than fever thermometers
- Polybromobiphenyls; Polybrominatedbiphenyls (PBB) in textile articles intended to come into contact with the skin
- Tris (2,3 dibromopropyl) phosphate in textile articles intended to come into contact with the skin
- Tris (aziridinyl) phosphinoxide in textile articles intended to come into contact with the skin