Relevant for: Electrical & electronics, Softlines, Hardlines, Toys & children's products
On 5 March 2018, the European Commission (EC)1 published the 10-year REACH review report2. The REACH Regulation has been in force since 2007. It is a part of the legal obligations to review REACH implementation every 5 years. The first review was carried out in 2012 and this time is the 2nd review carried out in 2017. In short, the review mentioned that REACH can address the concern of chemical safety.
The review was prepared by gathering various reports and comments from Member States, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and European citizens. The review reflects the current status of REACH activities, conclusion and suggested improvement actions. As a next step, the EC will follow up with Member States and stakeholders at a public conference in June 2018. Here are the highlights of the review.
With the implementation of REACH, the Registration helps to collect more than 17000 substances manufactured and used in the EU. This gives a better understanding and control of chemicals.
REACH Authorisation drives the success to the substitution of the substance of very high concerns (SVHCs). So far 181 SVHCs are identified on the Candidate List and more importantly, most of the substances with confirmed SVHC properties have now been assessed. The SVHC roadmap helped not just to identify the SVHC substances but it also assisted to identify the needs for restrictions or other necessary regulatory actions.
From 2011 to 2016, the EC adopted 13 restrictions. Eleven (11) of them3 were newly added restrictions. Two (2) existing restrictions were reviewed. Some restrictions can bring benefits to human health and environment e.g. lead in consumer products is an EU-wide ban which reduces the lead exposure of children from long-term poisoning; the nonylphenol ethoxylates restriction was added to the REACH Annex XVII to protect aquatic life.
1) SVHC in articles
Despite the benefits from REACH, a number of follow-up actions are suggested by the review. Focusing on the articles related aspects, the EC would like to enhance the tracking substances of concern in the supply chain. For example, Member States together with other stakeholders are developing an EU-wide phone app4 to identify SVHCs in articles.
2) Restriction procedures
Further improvement of restriction procedures is required. The EC would like to encourage the involvement of Member States in identifying restricted substances and would like to simplify the requirement of submitting restriction dossiers. Hopefully, that can help to speed up the restriction procedure.
3) Enforcement activities
Enhanced communication is required to facilitate the enforcement activities. Via the ECHA Enforcement Forum, Member States can exchange information with each other. In addition, continuous reporting from the Members States are required to evaluate the effectiveness of enforcement. The pilot project of SVHC in articles5 was carried out in 2017 and expected to run until the end of 2018. More inspection results will be released later on.