EU round up: ECJ tightens rules on REACH hazardous coating notifications

22 December 2015

Paint and coatings suppliers to downstream users may have to notify the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) if their product contains coatings whose ingredients contain 0.1% or more elements that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction.

That could be the impact of a ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the notifications that must be made to ECHA under the European Union’s (EU) REACH chemical control system.

ECHA had argued that such notifications only needed to be made where such chemicals made up 0.1% of an entire product even a complex item with many separate components. Following a challenge by France, the court has ruled that these declarations and calculations must be made for each item of a product, which could include coatings applied to an item or a small element of which coatings form an important component.

While case law may clarify this issue,­ the court has said, in its latest ruling, that assessments must be made of ‘articles’, which it defines as "an object given a special, shape, surface or design that determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition.” Moreover, where these are inputs, the court ruled that a supplier "is also subject to the duty to notify”.

• Meanwhile, ECHA’s committee for socio-economic analysis (SEAC) has backed ECHA proposals to restrict within the EU the manufacture, marketing and use of PFOA (pentadecafluorooctanoic acid), its salts and PFOA-related substances, as well as of articles and mixtures containing these substances. It was seeking comments on the issue until November ­ see

• ECHA’s biocidal products committee has approved the use of biocide DBDCB (1,2-dibromo-2,4-dicyanobutane) for indoor water-based decorative paints applied by brush or roller. It has also approved, as an anti-microbial preservative, Bardap 26 for wood preservation uses, killing wood-destroying insects, moulds and fungi.

• The EU chemical agency has also published a leaflet encouraging chemical sector workers to check with their employer whether it is planning to register chemical substances used in their workplace under the upcoming 2018 REACH registration deadline. The leaflet warns that unregistered chemicals may be used unsafely and also could leave employers open to legal and regulatory liability, which could affect their income and profits. See

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