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October 31, 2008

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Dangerous-chemicals list ushers in new duties

European suppliers of items that contain substances deemed to be of ‘Very High Concern’ (SVHCs) are subject to new rules governing their safe use.

As part of REACH – the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals – the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has included 15 substances on the Candidate List of SVHCs.

SVHCs are defined as substances that may have very serious, and often irreversible, effects on humans and the environment. Those on the Candidate List include anthracine – which is used in wood preservatives, insecticides, and coating materials – and dibutyl phthalate, a common plasticiser also used in adhesives and printing inks.

From 28 October this year, EU & EEA suppliers of articles that contain substances on the List in a concentration above 0.1 per cent (w/w) must provide customers with sufficient information to ensure the safe use of the items, and a safety data sheet if a substance is included on the List. Suppliers must also provide sufficient information to consumers within 45 days of receiving a request.

There are also new rules for preparations not classified as dangerous, according to the Dangerous Preparations Directive (1999/45/EC). In these cases, suppliers will still need to provide recipients, at their request, with a safety data sheet if the preparation contains at least one substance on the Candidate List, and its individual concentration is at least 0.1 per cent (w/w) for non-gaseous preparations, and at least 0.2 per cent by volume for gaseous preparations.

ECHA executive director, Geert Dancet, said: “All companies should take note of the Candidate List. It is critical they know that the inclusion of the substances in the List generates immediate new legal obligations for the communication in the supply chain.”

The Candidate List pages can be viewed by clicking here

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