In July 2019, the EU project LIFE AskREACH published a report detailing the awareness of consumers and companies regarding their rights and obligations with respect to information sharing about the presence of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in articles. Under REACH legislation Article 33, consumers have the right to request information from companies about the presence of SVHCs in products. The report provides survey results, which found that “of 183 participating companies, 42% had already received ‘right to know’ information requests from consumers,” and of these “nearly half did not have the information required to provide an immediate response in most cases.” The survey found that there is a “lack of supply chain communications on SVHCs in articles,” which “could be tackled with a supply chain approach heading towards full material declaration.”

A press release published by the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI) on July 8, 2019, announced the ongoing development of a phone application to help consumers learn about the risks of SVHCs and provide a space for companies to share information with consumers about SVHCs in their products. Regulatory news provider Chemical Watch reports that this effort is also within the AskREACH project, which will also create an additional database for companies to provide information on SVHCs. “As a consumer, you may find [it] useful to have the information that the article is free from SVHCs at the time of your purchase,” said Lisa Anfälttold from Kemi to Chemical Watch. “Article providers may [also] be interested in providing this ‘positive’ information.”

While such efforts continue with the aim to improve the communication of information about SVHCs, a report published in July 2019 by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency has found that existing regulation has reduced SVHC use levels in Nordic countries. The report “clearly” found that “regulatory action (including harmonized classification/assigning the SVHC designation) over the past decades on substances currently on the REACH Authorization List has resulted in considerably reduced tonnages in the Nordic countries.” The report further concludes that “it appears that candidate listing and Authorization List inclusion generally keep or drive tonnages to low levels and thus may function as drivers for eventual substitution in situations where it would be difficult to identify substitutes in the short term.”

Read more

Leigh Stringer (July 11, 2019). “Half of companies not well-informed on SVHCs, survey finds.” Chemical Watch

Kemi (July 8, 2019). “Kemikalieappen ska hjälpa företag att ge information till konsumenter.” (in Swedish)

Chemical Watch (July 15, 2019). “Testing underway for EU app to track SVHCs in articles.”

Danish Environmental Protection Agency (July 2019). “Effect of some legal interventions under REACH and CLP.”

Caterina Tani (July 11, 2019). “EU legislation has ‘considerably’ reduced SVHC use in Nordic countries.” Chemical Watch

Leigh Stringer (July 24, 2019). “Feature: How are chemical producers addressing substances of concern?Chemical Watch