Information released about SVHC use in consumer articles

17 April 2012

For the very first time, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published details on March 5, 2012 about the practical use of candidate list Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) in consumer articles. This information was extracted from SVHC notification dossiers and registrations for such substances that have recently been provided to the ECHA by the industry in compliance with new disclosure requirements.  The aim of the ECHA in publishing this information is to increase awareness of SVHC uses in the applications listed.

The ECHA warns that not all articles similar to those listed will contain SVHC and vice versa that if an article is omitted from the list it may still contain an SVHC. It is hoped this list of SVHC applications may contribute to a better knowledge about existence of applications with hazardous substances.

The ECHA informs us that the majority of notifications received so far concern four phthalates: Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), and Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) in addition to Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), a brominated flame retardant noy commonly used in leather products. The phthalates are typically used as softeners for plastics notified as used in articles such as cables, bags, packaging material, waterproof garments and flooring materials made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Between April and December 2011 only 203 notifications were received by the ECHA, which believes this low response is because the obligations are new to industry and some companies may still not be aware of their responsibilities under REACH Article 7 (2) to prepare notification dossiers and inform the ECHA. The ECHA advises all companies to check the notification requirements and their legal compliance obligations. Companies also need to remember that the scope of notification changes each time new substances are added to the SVHC candidate list. The latest revision added 20 new substances to the SVHC Candidate List in December 2011 and industry is obliged to notify uses of these by the deadline in June 2012 in case candidate list SVHC is contained with >0,1 % (w/w) in an article, preparation or substance and used with more than one tone per year for all such products of a legal entity based in the EU member states.

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