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Forum for enforcement reviews results of its restriction project and agrees on new actions

ECHA/NI/17/39

The results of the fourth enforcement projects revealed relatively high incidence of products that are incompliant with conditions of restriction for phthalates, cadmium and asbestos. At its 28th meeting, the Forum also held a well-attended open session with stakeholder organisations and discussed potential actions related to the duty to use animal testing as a last resort. BPR inspectors agreed to target treated articles in their first enforcement project.

Helsinki, 16 November 2017 – At the meeting, the Forum endorsed the preliminary results of its fourth major enforcement project, REF-4, focusing on the control of compliance with the conditions set out for selected restrictions in Annex XVII to REACH.

REF-4 results

Inspectors checked 5 625 chemical products, of which, 18 % did not comply with the conditions laid down in the restriction. The most frequently detected breaches were the presence of phthalates in toys (19.7 %), cadmium in brazing fillers above the allowed concentration (14.1 %) and asbestos fibres in products (13.6 %). The products containing asbestos were mostly second-hand, and produced before the restriction came into force. Inspectors also frequently found overly high concentrations of chromium VI in leather articles and cadmium in jewellery.

At its next meeting in March 2018, the Forum will discuss the REF-4 project report, which will be published before year end. The Forum will also consider how to address the relatively high degree of infringements found.

Alternatives to animal testing

Potential control activities related to the obligation of duty holders to use animal testing only as a last resort were also discussed.

For certain properties of a substance, registrants must consider generating the required information through methods other than testing on vertebrate animals, such as by using in vitro tests. ECHA has identified a number of cases where registrants submitted results of tests carried out on animals although REACH only required results from in vitro studies.

ECHA will inform Member States about these cases. The national enforcement authorities will consider which of the cases inspectors will investigate.

Open session

The Forum has also held its annual session involving accredited stakeholder organisations (ASOs).

A number of topics were discussed such as enforcing duties for importers of substances, mixtures or articles, including textiles, the risk of withdrawal of critical substances after the 2018 registration deadline, new test methods for upcoming REACH restrictions and enforcing the duty to consider alternatives to animal testing.

Many ASOs joined the initiative to work with the Forum on improving the quality of the safety data sheets (SDSs). This activity aims to identify frequently occurring problems with SDSs and will engage ASOs to address them in voluntary industry initiatives.

The Forum also invited the ASOs to submit new proposals for the 2018 enforcement project selection cycle.

BPR Subgroup of the Forum

The Biocidal Products Regulation Subgroup (BPRS) decided that its first coordinated enforcement project dedicated solely to BPR requirements will focus on duties related to treated articles.

The project will focus on substances, mixtures or articles that have been treated with or that incorporate a biocidal product. It will be prepared during 2018, executed in 2019 and report will be published in 2020.

The BPRS also discussed future ways of collaborating with ASOs and decided to approach the stakeholder organisations to request topics of their interest related to BPR enforcement.

The BPRS also discussed the lessons learnt from the incidents of using illegal biocidal products containing fipronil reported in press earlier this year.

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