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SVHC in complex products

Clarity at last on SVHC’s in complex products

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that a substance of very high concern (SVHC) applies to each article in a complex product rather than the entire product under REACH. The ruling can be considered as immediate.
By doing so the CJEU shares the point of view of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Norway, Austria and Sweden.

What was the issue?

In april 2011, ECHA published a guideline revealing that the threshold limit of 0.1% of an SVHC in an ‘article’ applies to the ‘entire article’ (complex article or whole product) at the EU level. The guideline also informed that 7 EU/EEA Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Norway and Sweden) have dissenting views on applying the threshold limit of 0.1% of an SVHC to an entire article. These MS applied this threshold limit to ‘each article in an entire article’ (each component in an entire article) rather than to an ‘entire article.’

What is an article?

According to Reach’s definition an article is “an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition”.
As soon as an object is considered an article, each supplier (manufacturer, importer, distributor or any other actor in the value chain who puts an article on the market) of an article containing an SVHC on the Candidate List in a concentration of more than 0.1% shall provide the recipient of the article with sufficient information, available to the supplier, to allow the safe use of the article, including, as a minimum, the name of the SVHC. This information also has to be provided to consumers upon their demand.
According to the European Commission, ECHA and most member states, these obligations only applied to the entire article. The concept by the 7 other states was, in simple terms, ‘once an article, always an article’ and they applied this threshold limit to ‘each article in an entire article’ (each component in an entire article) rather than to an ‘entire article’. For an article does not cease to exist once incorporated into a complex article.
On 10 September 2015, a press release by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) announced that the ‘Notification’ of an SVHC in an article under the REACH Regulation applies to ‘each article in an entire article’ (each component in an entire article) rather than to the ‘entire article’ when the concentration of an SVHC is more than 0.1%.

By way of illustration:

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As a result of this ruling, producers, importers and distributors will have to analyse the risk of their products containing an SVHC on the Candidate List in a concentration of more than 0.1% on the level of the composing articles and adapt their duty to communicate information on substances in articles.

Centexbel has prepared a REACH package to help you with tests and advice

Centexbel supports you in this matter by means of our consultancy services and specialised analyses on SVHC and other restricted substances in consumer articles and toys for the European and international market.
In this objective, we have developed the rapid REACH identification test kit to screen your products on the presence of substances of very high concern.

  • The tests detect all substances of very high concern (candidate list of the European Chemicals Agency). Every time the candidate list is completed, Centexbel updates the list of chemicals to be tested accordingly.
  • the tests are available for objects and preparations.

Based on a set of four tests, we perform a qualitative screening of substances included in the SVHC list. If the screening demonstrates the presence of a certain SVHC in a concentration exceeding 0.1 (g/g), we will proceed to a quantitative analysis to determine the exact concentration.

  • thermal extraction at 120°C to detect the presence of organic compounds
  • X-Ray Fluorescence measurement (XRF) to determine the contents of heavy metals (eg. Co, As,…), and/or halogens (Cl, Br,…)
  • ICP-MS to determine the boron content
  • LC-MS : additional test to detect the remaining substances of very high concern

The Centexbel rapid REACH identification test screens your products on the presence of substances of very high concern before proceeding to an in-depth analysis of the exact quantities. This approach saves both time and money!

For all further information, please contact Stijn Steuperaert: sst [at] centexbel [dot] be

Brochure REACH tests performed by Centexbel