What is the effect on the assessment of the articles?
According to REACH and CLP a product is an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition. An article often is not a homogenous material, in most cases it is already a combination of different materials. An article still is an article even when it is used together with other articles to be assemble to a final product. The German BAuA used the short definition "Once an article, always an article". These interpretations are illustrated in the guidelines issued in 2011 and 2013, please refer to the following links:
Guideline published in the name of the following member states:
- Belgian Federal Public Service, Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
- German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
- Danish Environmental Protection Agency
- French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
- Norwegian Environment Agency, Swedish Chemicals Agency
What is the effect of the judgment on selected articles?
The guidelines mentions above list several examples, like bicycle, couch, shirt, electric cable, computer parts, computer and a coated fry pan If articles (frame of bicycle, saddle, handle bar, bell) are assembled to one complex article all the sub-assemblies still are considered to be articles themselves. During production of a printed textile the color (if liquid) is a mixture before being printed on the shirt. The printed shirt is an article, the color is not. The color becomes part of the article after it has been printed on the shirt.
For more explanation and additional details please refer to the page 20-29 of the guidance document:http://mst.dk/media/mst/9106895/guidance_for_suppliers_of_articles_en.pdf
What will be the impact on the REACH regulations?
In the REACH regulation it is stipulated that there is a duty of notification when the concentration in the article exceeds 0,1% by weight. In RIP 3.8 a detailed explanation of what is considered to be an article can be found and how to deal with more complex articles, which consists of more than 1 subassemblies. The judgment of the Court therefore is not an update or amendment of the REACH regulation, it only requires an update of the guideline RIP 3.8. The calculation of the content of SVHC now follows the assessment of other regulations. The approach stipulated in RIP 3.8 that the limit is calculated by the weight of the final article and not by the weight of subassemblies or homogenous material was unique. Other regulation like Annex XVII of REACH or RoHS limit the concentration per homogenous material.
Will there be any impact on how products need to be tested on SVHC?
Since REACH took effect testing on SVHC became a regular test for the big majority of clients. During testing different materials are mixed to one test group and screened on their content of SVHC where on inconclusive results the materials will be tested again separately. After the new judgment the assessment of the results changes. In the past the result was calculated by weight of the complete article, from now on it will be calculated on the subassembly or the material that is considered to be an article itself. If during screening no SVHC are detected – which reflects the typical test result – then the assessment of the article does not change. Materials of subassemblies could have been excluded from testing in the past due to their low weight compared to the weight of the overall article. These now need to be tested as well.