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2021-09-22

NEA newsletter-202109

Latest Progress in Environmental Protection Laws and Regulations, Product Recall Case, and Experts Q&A

The EU amended the restriction requirements of Entry 68 of Annex XVII to REACH
On August 5, 2021, the European Union published (EU) 2021/1297, again amended the Annex XVII to REACH Regulation, replacing Entry 68 with the restriction of C9-C14 PFCAs, their salts and C9-C14 PFCA-related substances. Previously, the EU published regulation (EU) 2020/2096 in 2020 to delete the restriction requirements on PFOA in Entry 68 of Annex XVII (Due to its inclusion in POPs Regulation). The revised Entry 68 specifies the scope of restricted substances. From February 25, 2023, these substances shall not be manufactured or placed on market, and the concentration in the substance, the mixture, or the article shall not exceed 25 ppb for the sum of C9-C14 PFCAs and their salts or 260 ppb for the sum of C9-C14 PFCA-related substances. Besides, the entry set detailed deadlines for certain applications of C9-C14 PFCAs, their salts and C9-C14-PFCA-related substances. (EU) 2021/1297 enters into force 20 days after its publication in the official journal of the European Union.

Canada proposes listing LC-PFCAs to the Stockholm Convention
Long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (LC-PFCAs) are a subset of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are hydrophobic and oleophobic, and are therefore widely used in chrome plating processes, fire-fighting foams and surface treatment of textiles, carpets and papers. These substances have the characteristics of persistent organic pollutants, as one of the contracting parties of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (hereinafter ‘Convention’), the Canadian government has proposed LC-PFCAs with carbon chain lengths from 9 to 21, as well as their salts and any substance that is a precursor and may degrade or transform to long-chain PFCAs for consideration under the Convention. If listed, the parties will need to prohibit and/or eliminate the production, use, import and export of related substances. The 17th meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-17) will be held in January 2022, and the participating parties will discuss this proposal.

Saudi Arabia published RoHS Technical Regulation
On July 9, 2021, the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) published the "Technical Regulation for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment" (SASO RoHS), restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment (EEEs). Six categories of EEEs are covered by this regulation: 1) Large and small home appliances, 2) Information and communication technology equipment, 3) Lighting equipment, 4) Electrical and electronic tools and equipment, 5) Games, entertainment devices, and sports equipment, and 6) Monitoring and control tools. Meanwhile, six hazardous substances are restricted under this Technical Regulation, including lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated biphenyls ethers. The limit for cadmium is 0.01% (wt%), the other five are 0.1% (wt%). In addition, the Technical Regulation specifies the conformity assessment procedures that must be followed by suppliers. SASO RoHS will come into effective on January 5, 2022, non-compliant products can still be circulated in the market for a maximum period of one year after publication of the Technical Regulation.

The EU revised the restriction on PAHs under Entry 50 of Annex XVII to REACH
On July 21, 2021, the European Union (EU) published Regulation (EU) 2021/1199 to revise the restriction on polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) under Entry 50 of Annex XVII to the Regulation (EC) 1907/2006. The amendment regulates eight PAHs in granules and mulches used as filling material in synthetic turf pitches or in loose form on playgrounds or in sport applications. The sum of 8 PAHs in the above-mentioned materials shall be less than 20 mg/kg (0,002 % by weight). Granules or mulches placed on the market for use as filling material in synthetic turf pitches or in loose form on playgrounds or in sport applications shall be marked with a unique identification number of the batch. (EU) 2021/1199 has been effective 20 days after its publication, and the relevant restrictions will become effective on August 10, 2022.

Sweden enforcement project will focus on the compliance of electronic and electrical equipment
Recently, the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI) has launched a national inspection project to check the content of REACH SVHC candidate list substances in summer products. The project will monitor low-price products in online stores and gas stations, targeting products coming from outside the EU, and will focus primarily on items and materials that have been found to be non-compliant in previous inspections, such as cheap electrical or electronic products and PVC, etc. The enforcement project last year revealed the presence of lead, cadmium or short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) in more than a quarter of electrical products examined. Meanwhile, the ECHA Enforcement Forum’s eighth REACH project (Ref-8) is monitoring the compliance of products sold online. KEMI's investigations as part of Ref-8 have found illegal levels of hazardous chemicals in consumer items purchased from online stores based both in and outside the EU. Relevant enterprises shall pay attention to the latest enforcement trends, investigate the restricted substances in product in advance to avoid the risk of non-compliance.

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