Transparent supply chains are becoming increasingly important. Distributors need to know which chemical substances are contained in products. Recently, the European Chemicals Agency added four new substances to the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs), selected for their reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption and a combination of other properties of concern. In this context, the term REACH appears again and again. But what is it about? The following interview with our colleague Oliver Wermers provides an insight.
Question: What is REACH?
Answer: When we talk about REACH, we mean in principle the EU Regulation (EC) 1907/2006, which deals with the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals on their own, in mixtures and in articles.
Question: What exactly does this mean?
Answer: The EU has set itself the goal of regulating substances that are harmful to the environment and humans. In this regulation, it has, among other things, identified a large number of prohibited substances in certain applications and defined a list of substances of very high concern.
Question: What does this mean for us in practice?
Answer: Annexes XIV and XVII of the Regulation are of particular concern to us at EVE. Annex XIV contains the list of substances of very high concern (SVHC). This list is extended approximately every six months. As soon as this list is extended to include new substances, this means for us that the necessary information must be requested from the manufacturers in order to be able to fulfil our obligation to provide information to our customers, to allow safe use of the articles. Annex XVII lists substances that may not be used in certain applications. Here, too, we regularly obtain the necessary information from manufacturers when the list is extended in order to confirm compliance with this prohibition.
Question: What is the difference with RoHS, which also deals with substances?
Answer: The RoHS Directive deals with substances in electrical and electronic equipment, which of course affects us in particular. The REACH Regulation does not only affect the electronics industry, but products of all kinds. It is also about banning substances in toys or clothing, for example.
Question: What can I do to find out more?
Answer: The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has put together a very informative website to inform you about this topic. This can be found at: http://www.reach-helpdesk.de/
Question: Finally, can you tell us something about yourself?
Answer: I've been with EVE for over 10 years now and have been responsible for environmental & compliance issues here in the company since the beginning of 2016. In order to always be up to date in this area, I attend the meetings of a Competence Team of the FBDi (Fachverband Bauelemente Distribution e.V.) about 5 times a year in addition to individual seminars. Here we deal with current and also future topics in the area of environment & compliance, which concern us in particular as a distributor. This ensures that we at EVE are always up to date on REACH and its compliance.