Chemicals Added to RoHS and REACH Compliance for European Chemical Production and Use

Posted by Jennifer Fennell

BY Jennifer Fennell, CPM – Sourcing Manager

REACH (Regulation, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) is a regulation agency of the European Union. Its mission is to improve human health, as well as protect the environment. Despite their nearly unlimited number of uses, chemicals can sometimes pose a danger to human life, and the environment. REACH encourages the competitive spirit within the chemical industry, but also seeks to promote an attitude of safety, and responsibility.

REACH studies all chemical substances, including those used in day-to-day living. It is no secret that many organizations make use of animal testing. REACH promotes alternative ways of assessing hazardous substances, other than testing on animals.

Burden of Proof

When REACH imposes a regulation, the burden of proof is on companies selling products in Europe to identify and manage risks associated with chemicals products. Companies are required to prove their chemical substances are safe, and that they have communicated any possible risks to the end user.

If a company fails to prove that any risks can be managed, REACH has ways of restricting the company’s use of those chemicals. This keeps companies on their toes. It also inspires them to find or create substitute chemicals that are not harmful.

Chemicals Added to RoHS

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) is an aggressive mandate for the REACH. RoHS compliance is directive, not a regulation. The issue of consumer-electronics waste is addressed by RoHS. The guidance involved in the directive has the goal of eliminating the following chemicals added to RoHS from being used: Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB), Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE). Last year, four additional phthalates were added to the list of Priority 1 substances: Bis (2-ethylhexyl) Pthalate (DEHP), Butyl Bizel Pthalate (BBP), Dibutyl Pthalate (DBP), and Diisobutyl Pthalates (DIBP). Ther are some exemptions for cables and spare parts, particularly in some medical devices – similar to the exemptions in previous Directives.

Our Interest in REACH and RoHS

At Polo Custom Products, we create products and source material on an international scale. Our customers rely on us to be their TOTAL source for innovative design and global manufacturing. As such, it’s critical for us to to stay on top of any regulations in the world that can affect their product’s impact on the world, and their bottom line. The products we manufacture include, but are not limited to, custom sewn bags, other custom sewn products custom equipment cases and EVA cases, emergency breathing apparatus components, and fluid collection bags. Our customers are in the government/military, industrial, medical, and fire/safety industries, and their products enhance, protect, and preserve lives of people all over the world. We are very aware of the chemicals added to RoHS, and seek to work closely with our customers and supply chain to comply with the limitations on their use.

Watchful, prepared companies are the ones that will make the most positive impact on the world. New materials will continually reach the market and regulatory agencies will be monitoring them for safety concerns. Polo Custom Products will continue to work with our global supply chain to ensure that our customers’ products are safe and reliable.