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Improving compliance with REACH restrictions through EU-wide enforcement


Director of Cooperation, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)


The Enforcement Forum of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) – which comprises of the enforcement authorities of the EU and EEA member states – finalised its latest project (REF-4) in February. The project focused on restrictions under the REACH Regulation, such as restrictions on asbestos, plasticisers and mercury in consumer products.

The aim of the project was to understand the degree to which companies placing chemicals on the market comply with these restrictions and, wherever necessary, to follow up with enforcement actions. It covered 14 entries from the list of substances restricted under REACH (Annex XVII). The overall goal of the project was to contribute to improving the level of compliance and, in doing so, to protect our health and the environment.


5 625 targeted inspections were carried out in total for more than 1 000 mixtures, covering nearly 4 600 articles and 17 substances. These inspections found the average non-compliance rate to be 18 %. Given that restrictions are put in place for uses of chemicals that pose the highest risk to health or the environment, we here at ECHA consider this number as still being too high. 

When interpreting these numbers and this finding, however, readers of this article need to bear in mind that the scope of the project was to selectively check compliance with conditions of restrictions under REACH. Therefore, as a prerequisite, the products subjected for the analy ...

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