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EU: REACH restriction inspection results in toys, adhesives and jewellery

February 2018- Relevant for: Hardlines, Softlines, Toys & children's products

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a press release1 about product compliance with REACH Annex XVII. This inspection activity aims to call for awareness of restrictions. Inspectors from 27 Member States checked 5625 products including textiles, jewellery, plastic material, glues and spray paints, brazing fillers, toys and childcare articles. After evaluation, the average non-compliance rate was 18% and some of the entries e.g. asbestos have been long in force in the EU.

This enforcement project2 was carried out from March 2016. Only 22 entries of REACH Annex XVII were targeted because there were available analytical methods3 recommended by the REACH Enforcement Forum. During this project, chemical testing was carried out to check the concentration of the restricted substances in mixtures or articles.

Phthalates in toys had the highest non-compliance rate up to 19.7%, following by cadmium in brazing filters (14.1%) and surprisingly asbestos in various products including second hands products. Even though the restriction of asbestos has been imposed for years, they can still be found in catalytic heaters, thermos flasks, and brake pads. Other entries with high non-compliance rate included chromium (VI) in leather, nickel in metals accessories in clothing and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in products with skin contact. Jewellery was also one of the target products containing restricted heavy metals (i.e. nickel, cadmium and lead) above legal limits.

As follow-up actions, the product withdrawal and written advice were the highest numbers of enforcement measures adopted by the national authorities. The report suggested that companies should be aware of REACH restrictions. Proactive testing and effective communication along the supply chain are essential to meet the chemical compliance. Companies should also regularly check RAPEX cases4 ,5 to get information on the non-compliance products found on the market.

[1] ECHA press release
[2] Harmonised Enforcement Project on Restrictions version 1.0 (Results of the inspection)
[3] Compendium of analytical methods Recommended by the REACH Enforcement Forum (March 2016 version 1.0)
[4] RAPEX weekly report
[5] TÜV SÜD product recall statistics


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