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Highlights from Enforcement Forum-38 meeting

The Enforcement Forum has agreed to control safety data sheets in the EU-wide enforcement project in 2023. The Forum also adopted a revised compendium of analytical methods to control compliance with REACH restrictions.

Helsinki, 29 June 2021 - The EU-wide enforcement project (REF-11) in 2023 will look at the quality of information in safety data sheets.

Safety data sheets are the main vehicles for communicating safety information in the supply chain. If they are deficient, workers and professionals may not receive adequate information to use hazardous substances and mixtures safely.

The poor quality of information in safety data sheets is a long-standing issue detected also in many earlier enforcement projects – up to 52 % were found to be deficient in the Forum’s REF-2 project in 2013. Experience from enforcement activities in Member States confirms that the issue persists.

The project will check compliance with the revised requirements under Annex II to REACH, which sets the content and format required for safety data sheets. With the revised requirements entering into force in 2023, this is a timely opportunity to have a harmonised project to check that companies across the EU are fulfilling this duty.

The Forum will prepare the project in 2022, run inspections in 2023 and report in 2024.

A revised compendium expanding the number of analytical methods recommended for checking compliance with REACH restrictions was also adopted, and will soon be published on ECHA’s website. The compendium now contains 400 methods for checking 56 restriction entries from Annex XVII to REACH – including some of the latest entries such as entry 72 restricting the use of substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction (CMRs) in textiles. The compendium not only facilitates enforcement but also makes it easier for companies to verify that they comply with restriction conditions.

The Forum and its BPR Subgroup (BPRS) also discussed their experience from two virtual workshops with accredited stakeholder organisations organised in spring 2021. The workshops focused on the findings and recommendations from the BEF-1 project on articles treated with biocides, REF-7 project on REACH registration and the pilot project on controlling REACH restrictions and CLP labelling in imported products.

The workshops improve the transparency of the Forum and BPRS, by giving stakeholders and enforcement authorities the possibility to engage, discuss and exchange views. The Forum and BPRS will continue holding such workshops in the coming years.

The Enforcement Forum met remotely on 15-18 June and its Biocidal Products Regulation Subgroup on 22-23 June 2021.