On January 20, the Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement (Forum) officially commenced its eighth major enforcement project in the European Union (EU). The initiative aims to evaluate toys and textile products containing a range of hazardous substances, mixtures and biocidal products on the EU market, with a focus on online distributors such as Amazon and eBay.

Regulations applied to the project include the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Classification, Labelling & Packaging of Substances & Mixtures (CLP) and EU Biocidal Products regulations.

Learn how Assent Compliance’s Product Compliance Suite helps companies automate data acquisition through industry standard data types.

The Expansion of Regulation & Enforcement

When the REACH Regulation entered into force on June 1, 2007, it was the first of many regulatory enhancements that provided companies with convincing motivation to build products that are safe for human contact and the environment. Although companies have taken steps during the design phase to build products that align with legislation, many products with articles containing hazardous substances over threshold limits remain on the EU market. Enforcement activities have steadily increased to combat this.

The Forum enforcement project (REF-8) is one such initiative. Conducted by officials from 29 countries, REF-8 will investigate products sold online through web stores and platforms such as Amazon and eBay.

This more stringent iteration of the project should be viewed as merely one operation under the Regulation on Market Surveillance and Compliance of Products (Regulation 2019/1020/EU). Brought into force late last year, the regulation gives EU member state authorities increased powers to ensure companies are selling compliant products.

The market surveillance legislation takes particular aim at those shipping into the EU, so it’s no surprise the REF-8 project singles out web and U.S.-based distributors, which EU authorities often lack the resources to look at efficiently. Business analysts will be observing how this by-committee approach to the issue plays out.

Read more about how The Assent Compliance REACH Solution helps companies cost-effectively acquire substance data.

Building Understanding & Collaboration Between Authorities

The project will run until December 2020, and the results will be published in 2021. Key operations of the project include the evaluation of:

  • Buyer understanding on hazardous substance content prior to purchase.
  • Regulatory compliance in toys and textiles products from three approaches:
    • Restricted substances under the EU REACH Regulation.
    • Hazard class and applicable hazard categories for substances under EU CLP.
    • Authorised products under the EU BPR.
  • Awareness, communication and cooperation between member state enforcement authorities.

The forum conducting the REF-8 project is an authority collective for enforcement of the following legislation in the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein:

  • BPR.
  • CLP Regulation.
  • Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) Regulation.
  • Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation.
  • REACH Regulation.

Assent Helps Companies Navigate the Landscape

As hazardous substance regulations continue to expand, companies are leveraging platform technology to automate data management. This enables distributors shipping into the EU, as well as EU-based manufacturers, to maintain access to global selling markets and build a range of cost and operational efficiencies into their supply chain data management programs.

Assent Compliance’s Product Compliance Suite helps distributors, the world’s largest enterprises and 75 percent of Fortune 500 manufacturers understand their data requirements, and build superior programs that mitigate enforcement risk at a greater cost-efficiency than any other solution available. To learn more, contact us.

Dr. Raj Takhar
Regulatory & Sustainability Expert, Product Sustainability

Raj helps companies meet their product compliance challenges in an ever-changing regulatory landscape. He specializes in product compliance, chemical reporting, and program implementation in Europe.

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