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REACH

Polymers and monomers

Do I have to register polymers?
According to Article 2(9) of REACH polymers do not have to be registered, but according to Article 6(3) of REACH, the monomer substance(s) and other substances of the polymers that have not already been registered by an actor up the supply chain, are to be registered if both the following conditions are met:
- the polymer consists of 2 % weight by weight (w/w) or more of such monomer substance(s) or other substance(s) in the form of monomeric units and chemically bound substance(s) (i.e. free or unbound monomers shall not be considered when checking this condition);
 
- the total quantity of such monomer substance(s) or other substance(s) makes up 1 tonne or more per year (the total quantity in this context is the total quantity of monomer or other substance ending up in the final polymer unbound or chemically bound to the polymer)
 
The REACH Regulation defines polymers in Article 3(5) and monomers in Article 3(6) of REACH.
 
The European Commission may according to Article 138(2) of the REACH Regulation present legislative proposals with requirements for the registration of polymers once a practicable and cost-effective way of selecting polymers for registration on the basis of sound technical and valid scientific criteria can be established.
 
Detailed guidance and practical examples are provided in the Guidance for monomers and polymers: http://echa.europa.eu/guidance-documents/guidance-on-reach.
Can I register monomers as intermediates in accordance with Article 17(2) or 18(2) of the REACH Regulation?
According to Article 6 (2) of REACH, the reduced registration provisions with regard to on-site isolated and transported intermediates do not apply to monomers. This means that a full registration dossier must be submitted even if a monomer is used as an intermediate under strictly controlled conditions.
What is an impurity in a polymer?

An impurity in a polymer is defined as an unintended constituent present in the manufactured polymer substance. It may originate from the starting materials, such as the monomers or any other reactants, or be the result of secondary or incomplete reactions during the production process. While it is present in the final substance it was not intentionally added. Examples of impurities in a polymer include unreacted monomers or other reactants, residual polymerisation catalyst, or any contaminant from the manufacturing process. The definition and detailed guidance on how to handle impurities can be found in Section 4.2.- 'Substances of well defined composition', Section 4.3.- 'UVCB substances', and Chapter 5- 'Criteria for checking if substances are the same' of the Guidance for identification and naming of substances Under REACH and CLP: http://echa.europa.eu/guidance-documents/guidance-on-reach

What is an additive in a polymer?
Some substances are commonly added to polymers for the purpose of adjusting or improving their appearance and/or the physicochemical properties of polymeric material.
 
Additives which are necessary to preserve the stability of a polymer must be regarded as a part of the polymer in accordance with Article 3(1) of REACH. Any other unbound "additive" must be regarded as a component of a mixture and not as an additive in accordance with Article 3(1) of REACH.
 
Thus, the importer of a polymer containing additives does not need to register these additives provided that the additives are added to preserve the stability of the polymer. Note however that there is the general obligation to register substances imported in a polymer mixture in quantities of at least 1 tonne per year. Detailed guidance and practical examples are provided in the Guidance for monomers and polymers: http://echa.europa.eu/guidance-documents/guidance-on-reach.
Beside registration requirements, do I have other obligations for polymers under REACH?

The provisions under the REACH Regulation with regard to information in the supply chain (Title IV), authorisation (Title VII), restrictions (Title VIII) and classification and labelling C&L (Title XI) may also apply to polymers. Further information on this issue is provided in Section 3.2.2- 'Application for authorisation', Section 3.2.3- 'Compliance with restrictions', 3.2.4- 'Classification and labelling', and Section 3.2.5- 'Information down the supply chain' of the Guidance for monomers and polymers: http://echa.europa.eu/guidance-documents/guidance-on-reach.

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