News 2015 / February

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Advocate General of EU Court says information rule for hazardous chemicals applies to component articles

In the opinion on a case in the EU Court, the Advocate General assigned has recommended the Court to support France’s position that components can be the basis for assessing the 0,1% limit for hazardous chemicals in articles.

The REACH regulation sets a 0,1% limit for hazardous chemicals in articles, above which duties to provide information applies to firms. If a substance on the Candidate List is present above the concentration threshold, any supplier must inform recipients, including consumers on request, about the presence of the chemical. If the substance is present in an article in quantities totalling over one tonne per year, any producer or importer must notify ECHA.

Some Member States and the European Commission disagree on how the threshold should be calculated and when an article consists of several components. The Commission believe the threshold applies to the assembled article, whereas e.g. France and Sweden maintain that the threshold applies to individual components. In the latter case, the duties to provide information would arise much more frequently.

The Advocate General’s recommendation was provided following a case where two French industry groups are contesting France’s interpretation of the law. The Court must now make a final decision on how to interpret the threshold limit in EU legislation.

– Discussions regarding how to set the threshold limit has been going on for a long time. We agree with the conclusion made by the Advocate General, and urge the EU Court to decide accordingly, says Frida Hök, Policy Advicor at ChemSec.

Opinion of Advocate General Kokott