EU Court Makes Decision on REACH SVHC Scope Dispute

February 19, 2015|Written by GreenSoft Technology, Inc.

European CommissionSince the EU REACH regulation first went into effect in 2007, there has been controversy over the scope of the REACH Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) list. Does the presence of SVHCs in articles apply to components incorporated in the article or to the whole article?

On February 12, an Advocate General for the European Court of Justice decided that the obligations under REACH for companies to report the use of SVHCs applies to article components, not the whole article.

This is a change from the original REACH legislation, and the 2011 legislation revision which also maintained that the REACH SVHC reporting obligations apply to the entire article. Six EU member states had opposed this in the original legislation and formally asked the EU to expand the scope to article components: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden.

In 2014, a legal process was launched by two French trade bodies to resolve this issue. The French Council of State then referred the case to the European Court of Justice, where it was finally resolved this week. While the Advocate General’s decision is not binding, the European Court of Justice generally follows decisions made by Advocate Generals. The official EU judgment on this decision is expected in the next few months.

Full text of the Advocate General’s decision is available here.

Users of Greensoft’s REACH compliance process should not have a difficult transition should this judgment become final. GreenSoft recommends collecting full material declaration data for all components because environmental regulations change; REACH SVHC changes every 6 months.

When the full material declaration data is not available, collection of the compliance statement for REACH SVHC is then a must. It will then ensure a well-managed compliance process for REACH SVHC compliance at the product-level or at the component-level for articles. At present, GreenSoft’s data collection group is able to collect over 70% of all electronic items in full material declaration data. This leads to maximum flexibility in reporting and the ability to respond to changes quickly.

By maintaining a continuously updated database of component compliance data in a data management system that lets users generate various combinations of aggregated reports, GreenSoft’s customers are able to quickly respond to changes in regulations. If you’re already a customer of ours, we encourage you to email your Project Manager with any questions you have about how this new change will affect your REACH compliance.

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