- Suppliers of articles containing substances or candidates for authorisation in concentrations above 0.1% (weight by weight) shall provide sufficient information for their business customers.
After a product (chemical or article) is produced and packed, it is delivered to the customer, which can be another company in the manufacturing are or a distributor or retailer. There are certain duties to implement regarding content of hazardous substances in products.
Your responsibilities depend on whether the product is a chemical or an article and whether it is intended for another professional user (business) or a consumer. With regard to hazardous substances, proper information is a key for risk management; therefore, your ability to communicate such information to your customers is an important part of the product you sell.
Producers of chemicals are responsible for safe packaging and labelling of a chemical according to the CLP regulation[i]. The content of certain hazardous substances may be regulated by REACH[ii] regarding authorisation (REACH, Articles 57, 58) and restrictions (REACH, Article 67).
If a chemical supplied to a commercial customer is classified as dangerous or contains dangerous substances above certain limits, a safety data sheet (Article 31, REACH) shall be provided. Chemicals for which no safety data sheet is required shall be provided with the REACH registration number (including for the ingredients of a mixture), conditions of any authorisation or restriction if relevant, and any other relevant information necessary for appropriate risk management (Article 32, REACH). This information must be kept up to date.
If a chemical is a dangerous good, the rules for transportation of dangerous goods[iii], and safe storage shall be applied. In case you sub-contract another companies for such tasks you still shall ascertain that your business partner complies with legal requirements mentioned hereto.
Articles are defined as objects, which have a physical form that determines its function. In principle all solid goods can be regarded as articles.
Producers of articles are obliged to comply with requirements regarding authorisation (REACH, Articles 57, 58) and restrictions (REACH, Article 67) of certain substances. If the article is intended for the general public, it must be safe[iv], but comply also with more specific requirements depending on product type, for example, electric and electronic equipment (ROHS[v]) or toys[vi].
Suppliers of articles containing substances of very high concern on the candidate list (SVHC) in concentrations above 0.1% (weight by weight) shall provide sufficient information for their business customers (professional users of traders) necessary for safe use of the article, at least the name of the relevant substance.
If such articles are supplied to the general public (consumers) this information needs to be provided only upon their request and within 45 days (Article 33, REACH regulation). This means, if you are an article producer, you shall have such information in place. A good chemicals inventory at your company including also information on articles helps you to organise such tasks in more efficient way.
Your commercial customers might ask you more information about your product (article) – a material declaration on content of hazardous substances content (for example, ROHS). Apart from a few examples (such as RoHS declaration or information on construction products), the law does not regulate such requests but your ability to satisfy (additional) information needs of your client increases your competitiveness.
Depending on the product and clients, issuing voluntary declarations on your product (both - chemicals and articles), as well as joining voluntary ecolabeling schemes or product environmental declaration schemes might increase your competitiveness as well.
[i] Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP Regulation)
[ii] Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
[iii] DIRECTIVE 2008/68/EC on the inland transport of dangerous goods
[iv] Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety
[v] Directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment as Directive 2002/95/EC repealed in 2013
[vi] Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys