From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
ECHA's Enforcement Forum coordinated the REACH-En-Force-4 (REF-4) project to test consumer products for 22 restricted chemicals listed in REACH Annex XVII. These include asbestos, benzene, lead, phthalates and toluene.
Throughout 2016 inspectors in 27 EU and EEA countries checked 5,625 products such as plastics, glues, spray paints, brazing fillers, textiles, jewellery and toys for restricted substances. They found that 82% of products complied with the REACH restrictions but 18% did not.
In its report, Forum REF-4 Project Report: Harmonised enforcement project on restrictions, the ECHA said the non-compliance rate "was high considering that REACH restrictions have been assigned to uses of chemicals with the highest risks to health or the environment".
The most frequent breaches were: phthalates in toys (20% of inspected toys contained phthalates at levels above those permitted), cadmium in brazing fillers (14%) and asbestos fibres in products (14%).
ECHA said asbestos-containing products, for example catalytic heaters, thermos flasks and brake pads, were likely to be secondhand and manufactured before the restrictions prohibiting the sale of products containing asbestos came into force.
Inspectors also found high concentrations of chromium VI in leather goods (13% of the testing products) and cadmium in jewellery (12%).
Overall, most of the products that breached chemical restrictions had been imported from China (17%), or their origins could not be traced (39%).
The report says: "[These findings] highlight the companies' responsibility to get information on the chemical composition of their products from their suppliers. This may also include proactively testing the products and making agreements between suppliers so that the chemical composition complies with the chemicals legislation."
The UK inspected 444 products in total, behind Germany (1,757), Belgium (516) and Sweden (467).
In the Republic of Ireland, inspectors from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) found all of the 16 glues and adhesives assessed were compliant and did not contain the restricted chemicals benzene, chloroform or toluene.
However, 26% of the 37 jewellery products tested were removed from the market after the HSA found they contained excessive levels of lead, nickel or cadmium.
Kevin Buckley, the HSA's senior inspector, said: "Exposure to excess nickel can cause dermatitis. Long-term lead exposure can damage the nervous system and be especially hazardous for children. Ingesting lower levels of cadmium, over a long period, can lead to kidney damage and cause bones to become fragile."
He added: "Importers, manufacturers and distributors should be aware of the legal requirements governing the safety of products containing restricted chemicals. Retailers selling the products should check with their suppliers to ensure that their existing stock is compliant and all non-compliant stock should be removed from the shelves.
"Consumers can check the EU's RAPEX system on the web, where potentially hazardous consumer products, identified across the EU, are listed weekly."
Is 31 May in your diary? It’s not another safety or health awareness day, but the final registration deadline for REACH, the European chemicals regulation. As the deadline approaches, organisations that didn’t think it applied to them are discovering otherwise. Some, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are only just realising that they count as importers under REACH.
The employee at the Tesco Extra store in Highwoods Square in Colchester, Essex, was cleaning an oven on 5 May 2016 when the chemical product he was using splashed his face. He was not wearing goggles and his left eye and eyelid were burned.Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told that the employee had difficulties following written and verbal instructions, which his manager was aware of.
The report by fire investigation experts BRE Global was leaked to the Evening Standard and reveals deficiencies beyond the flammable cladding panels and insulation.BRE Global’s investigation findings, which emerged yesterday, concluded that the fire would not have spread beyond Flat 16 – where a single fridge-freezer caught fire – had the tower’s original façade not been reclad.
The executive has published a new web guide that it hopes will prevent employers from investing in generalised training courses for lifting after research found they were ineffective in controlling manual handling risks at work.
Recruitment Advisor is a recruitment and employment review website that provides workers with information about recruitment agencies and workers’ rights when they are looking for a job abroad. More than 10,000 recruitment agencies in Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea are listed on the website, which is currently available in English, Indonesian, Nepali and Tagalog.