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REACH now a reality.

BRUSSELS -- As of June 1, all EU suppliers are now required to comply with a raft of substance restrictions under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation.

The substance restrictions apply every time an article is supplied (including components, subassemblies and finished equipment), and enforcement action can be taken at any point in the supply chain. The substance restrictions also apply to distributors that resell components and subassemblies, and retailers that resell finished equipment.

The 53 substance restrictions are detailed in Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation (as amended) and cover a range of applications. In addition to substances already restricted under the RoHS Directive, 19 additional REACH substance restrictions can be relevant to electrical and electronics equipment and hardware.

More substances are expected be added to the list by the European Chemicals Agency ( and EU Member States. However, the list of REACH restricted substances is expected to develop more slowly than the REACH Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern, which may grow by up to 25 substances per year, according to the ECA. Substances on the Candidate List require declaration if the component, subassembly or finished equipment contains more than 0.1% w/w of that substance.

REACH enforcement is carried out through Member State regulations and is coordinated across Europe by the ECHA Forum for Exchange for Information on Enforcement. In France, for example, companies that do not comply with REACH restrictions face a maximum prison sentence of two years or a maximum fine of [euro]75,000. In the UK, noncompliant companies face a maximum penalty on conviction on indictment of a fine (unlimited) or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both.

Edited by Mike Buetow
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Author:Buetow, Mike
Publication:Circuits Assembly
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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