EU Enforcement Project to Target Phthalates & Flame Retardants

flame retardants

The European Chemicals Agency Enforcement Forum has begun work on a pilot project to verify compliance with the notification and communication obligations of substances in articles in REACH. It will specifically target seven substances, or groups of substances, including phthalates and flame retardants.

What are Phthalates?

Phthalates (often called plasticizers) are a family of industrial chemicals used to soften PVC plastic and they are also used as solvents in cosmetics and other consumer products. Phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system (particularly the developing testes) according to animal studies.

What are the aims of the project?

National enforcement actions, reports from authorities and NGOs, and the low number of notifications being made to ECHA indicate that industry is failing to meet its obligations.

The pilot was first announced in November 2015, two months after the European Court of Justice ruling that the 0.1% threshold for notifying substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in articles applies to each component of a complex product rather than the entire product.

The project aims to:

  • check compliance of producers, importers and suppliers of articles with their obligations (REACH Articles 7 and 33);
  • raise awareness and understanding of legal obligations and the level of compliance among duty holders;
  • build a better picture of the actual level of compliance by suppliers of articles;
  • identify reasons for non-compliance and decide whether ECHA, the Commission and/or member states competent authorities need to do more, such as providing support to duty holders.

The project also aims to gather experience and establish enforcement methods for a potential future large-scale check of these obligations.

ECHA says electrical products, building materials and interior articles are examples of consumer goods that may be inspected. The substances, or groups of, that it will focus on are:

  • phthalates;
  • brominated flame retardants;
  • phosphorous flame retardants;
  • short-chain chloroparaffins;
  • aprotic polar solvents;
  • perfluorinated substances; and
  • phenolic benzotriazoles.

The operational phase of the project started in October 2017 and will run until the end of June 2018. A report of the results is expected by the end of November 2018.

If you manufacture, import or use any of the substances listed above, it is important to be aware of this project and its potential implications for your business.

How can Hibiscus Help?

Hibiscus Plc has been providing labelling solutions and regulatory advice for wholesale chemical suppliers and dangerous goods retailers for over 35 years.

We have also developed software for the classification and labelling of hazardous substances and the authoring and management of Safety Data Sheets in order to enable our customers to achieve and maintain compliance with most major European legislation.

If you need assistance with any aspect of labelling your products or providing Safety Data Sheets, call us on: 0113 2424272 or email: