In an article published on February 13, 2020, the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) published results from its analysis finding that 92% of tested and non-compliant REACH chemicals found in European consumer products were imported in products from outside of Europe. The association completed the analysis based on publicly available data from the EU’s RAPEX database that announces dangers identified within non-food products across European members states. In 2019, a total of 1’468 instances of products with non-compliant levels of chemicals were announced. Across all products, non-compliance was found most often in toys (53%), followed by cosmetics (16%), and chemical products (12%). Phthalates were the most common specific category of chemicals responsible for non-compliance (25%), in addition to boron migration (11%), lead (11%), cadmium (8%), and all other chemicals (45%). The analysis does not clarify how many of the products chosen for inspection by the authorities originated from outside of Europe.

“We want REACH to work and consumers to be protected. Better enforcement of REACH in imports has to become a key element of the upcoming chemicals strategy for sustainability,” commented Sylvie Lemoine from Cefic. “We have the strictest chemical legislation in the world. But it will only fully work to the benefit of people and environment if properly enforced.” The association is calling to ensure that “restrictions under REACH are actually enforceable” and that enforcement authorities have the tools to check for compliance.

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Cefic (February 13, 2020). “More than 90% of all chemicals in consumer products non-compliant with REACH come from outside of the EU.”

Luke Buxton (February 13, 2020). “Report of non-compliant chemicals in EU shows 90% come from non-EEA states.”