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Substances of Very High Concern: Who are Affected and What are the Implications

The Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation that covers most consumer products and requires companies to report on chemicals used throughout the supply chain and in their products. It is adopted to protect human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals while improving competition within the EU chemical industry. Under reach, certain substances are restricted. Companies that want to achieve REACH compliance should check out the Enviropass svhc list to meet the requirements of the regulation. 

Hazard Categories Under REACH

Generally, Substances of Very High Concern or SVHC are substances that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Class 1 or 2 carcinogen, mutagen, or toxic for reproduction.
  • A substance that has persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBT) or very persistent and very bio-accumulative (vPvP).
  • Substances identified to cause probable serious effects to human health or environment and equivalent to PBTs and vPvBs. 

SVHC also refers to substances placed by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) on the Candidate List of substances considered for authorization. The Candidate List includes a variety of substances including heavy metal compounds, brominated compounds, phthalates, and others. 

Company Obligations

Whenever a substance has been added to the Candidate List, companies that manufacture, import, or use the substance in the EU must fulfill some legal obligations. They must notify the ECHA if their articles contain the substance listed above the specified threshold or in quantities that total more than a tone per year. They must do so not later than six months after the substance has been included in the list.

Any supplier of articles that contain a ‘Substance of Very High Concern’ (SVHC) on the Candidate List in a concentration of more than 0.1% (w/w) should give the recipient sufficient information, so the article can be safely used. Also, the information must be given to consumers within 45 days of a request. 

Who is Affected?

REACH affects companies that supply articles including retailers, distributors, and manufacturers of consumer products and suppliers of parts or components. Affected markets include retail, electronics, automotive, and white goods. 

The main concern of these article suppliers is to determine whether any of the SVHCs on the list are present in their products and at what level. The continuous expansion of the list makes this task even harder. SVHCs have been found in a range of consumer products including clothing, shoes, electronics, toys, and more. And manufacturers and retailers may not be aware of the presence of these substances. 

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