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EU releases enforcement report - excessive levels of harmful substances in a large number of consumer goods


Time:

2023-12-18

On December 13, 2023, the European Chemicals Administration (ECHA) released the tenth enforcement report of the REACH Enforcement Forum, which focused on consumer goods and examined their compliance with REACH regulations, POPs regulations, RoHS directives, and toy directives related to harmful substance restrictions, as well as the information transmission of SVHC in goods. A total of 2407 products from 26 countries were inspected.The overall non-compliance rate of the 2407 products inspected in this law enforcement inspection is 18%, the non-compliance rate of item type products is 20%, and the non-compliance rate of mixture type products is 9%. The inspection data shows that harmful chemicals such as lead, phthalates, and short chain chlorinated paraffin are too high in the products sold to consumers.

On December 13, 2023, the European Chemicals Administration (ECHA) released the tenth enforcement report of the REACH Enforcement Forum, which focused on consumer goods and examined their compliance with REACH regulations, POPs regulations, RoHS directives, and toy directives related to harmful substance restrictions, as well as the information transmission of SVHC in goods. A total of 2407 products from 26 countries were inspected.

 

The overall non-compliance rate of the 2407 products inspected in this law enforcement inspection is 18%, the non-compliance rate of item type products is 20%, and the non-compliance rate of mixture type products is 9%. The inspection data shows that harmful chemicals such as lead, phthalates, and short chain chlorinated paraffin are too high in the products sold to consumers.

 

1、 Hazardous substance restriction compliance

In the enforcement inspection of compliance with restrictions on harmful substances, it was found that the RoHS directive had the highest non-compliance rate, with 49% of the 329 inspected products not meeting the requirements. Next is the REACH regulatory restriction section, where 13% of the 2038 inspected products did not meet the requirements. Thirdly, it is the Toy Directive, where 10% of the 218 inspected products did not meet the requirements. Finally, it is the POPs regulation, where 9% of the 645 inspected products did not meet the requirements. The most common types of violating products are:

Electrical equipment, such as electric toys, chargers, cables, and headphones. 52% of these products were found to not meet the requirements, mainly due to excessive lead in solder, phthalates in soft plastic components, and cadmium in circuit boards. 

☑ Sports equipment such as yoga mats, bicycle gloves, ball products, and rubber handles for sports equipment. 18% of the products were found to not meet the requirements, mainly due to the excessive content of short chain chlorinated paraffin and phthalates in soft plastics, as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in rubber.

☑ Toys, such as shower/water toys, dolls, clothing, game mats, plastic dolls, stress relief toys, outdoor toys, sandbags, and childcare products. 16% of non electric toys were found to not meet the requirements, mainly due to the discovery of phthalates and restricted substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nickel, boron, or nitrosamines in soft plastic parts exceeding the standard.

☑ Fashion products such as handbags, jewelry, belts, shoes, and clothing. 15% of the products do not meet the requirements due to the presence of phthalates, lead, and cadmium.

 

2、 Information transmission of REACH SVHC

Regarding the information transmission obligation of REACH SVHC, which is required by Article 33 (1) of REACH regulations, a total of 589 product types were inspected, and it was found that out of 10 products that met the conditions for fulfilling the information transmission obligation, 3 suppliers of the products did not fulfill their obligation to provide the required SVHC information to their professional recipients, with a non-compliance rate of 30%.

 

3、 Country of origin for non compliant products

The law enforcement inspection results show that the non-compliance rate is higher for products from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or from unknown sources, at 20% and 21%, respectively. It is worth noting that the main source country for non compliant products outside of EEA is China. Among these non compliant products outside of EEA, Chinese products that do not comply with RoHS directives account for up to 98%, and Chinese products that do not comply with POPs regulations account for up to 95%. In addition, inspectors suspect that the majority of products with unknown sources may also come from China.

 

4、 Enforcement measures

After the inspection, the national law enforcement agencies have taken a series of enforcement measures, including verbal or written warnings, fines, criminal prosecution, and product destruction. On the other hand, most non compliant companies have also taken voluntary actions, such as delisting non compliant products, deleting products from their websites or online platforms, and recalling products.

 

5、 Future law enforcement dynamics

In early December 2023, the ECHA Enforcement Forum announced the work plan for 2024-2025 on the ECHA official website, identifying the enforcement priorities for the EU level REACH regulations, CLP regulations, PIC regulations, POPs regulations, and BPR regulations (biocide product regulations) for 2024-2025. These measures include taking action in areas with high risk of violations such as online sales, imported goods, classification and labeling, or compliance with restriction requirements. In addition, the work plan has also identified imported products as the focus of inspection for the 12th Joint Enforcement Action (REF-12), to be conducted in 2024 and law enforcement reports to be released in 2025.

 

 
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