How Safe are Products on the EU Market?

How Safe are Products on the EU Market?


The REACH-EN-FORCE project to raise awareness for restrictions in REACH, the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), conducted product checks in 29 countries participating in the project. The report shows that a relatively high number of products on the European market contain chemicals that are restricted under REACH. Inspectors in 27 European countries checked 1,009 mixtures, 4,599 articles, and 17 substances. Overall, out of 5,625 targeted product checks, 18 % did not comply with the restrictions.

The most frequent breaches were: phthalates in toys (20 % of inspected toys contained bis(2-ethylhexyl) (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) at levels above those permitted), cadmium in brazing fillers (14 %) and asbestos fibres in products (14 %). The products containing asbestos—for example, catalytic heaters, thermos flasks, and brake pads—were mostly second-hand and were probably produced before the restrictions prohibiting the sale of products containing asbestos came into force. Inspectors also found high concentrations of chromium(VI) in leather articles (13 % of the tested products) and cadmium in jewelry (12 %).

Overall, most of the breaches were found with products which had origins that could not be identified (39 % of such products did not comply), followed by products imported from China (17 %).

The report highlights 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 enforcement authorities will continue enforcing REACH restrictions by analyzing further products on the market.


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