SVHC-Detecting App Will Likely Increase Consumer Scrutiny

After nearly two years of development, the AskREACH project launched its Scan4Chem app for identifying Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) in articles. This free-to-use app allows consumers in 13 participating European Union (EU) member states to scan product barcodes using their smartphone to determine if it contains any SVHCs.

Developed as part of the AskREACH project, the app and its accompanying database were designed to increase consumer knowledge about the risks posed by SVHCs amid growing concerns about the presence of these substances.

The app’s release provides consumers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) greater access to SVHC information, putting greater pressure on companies to provide accurate part composition data in a timely fashion.

For more information on SVHCs, download our ebook, The REACH Handbook: Your Guide to SVHC Compliance.

Growing Demand for Substance Information

The Scan4Chem app and AskREACH project are backed by 13 EU member states, and build on the success of past national-level applications. Consumers and NGOs are able to freely access the database information, increasing the pressure companies face when doing business in the EU. Scanning a product’s barcode with Scan4Chem queries a database for SVHC information on the product. If no information is available, the app notifies the manufacturer or supplier that a consumer is requesting this information.

Under Article 33 of the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation, consumers have a right to know if the products they buy contain any SVHCs; if a consumer asks a supplier for substance information, the supplier must respond within 45 days.

In addition to Scan4Chem and individual legislation-backed requests for information, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)’s pending Substances of Concern In articles, as such or in complex objects (Products) (SCIP) database further adds to the scrutiny companies face. Companies with reporting obligations under the SCIP database and with substances flagged by the Scan4Chem app and database could face serious enforcement action on two fronts, and so need to ensure their reports are aligned for both systems.

Removing SVHCs From the Supply Chain

While the REACH Regulation and other due diligence requirements control and restrict potentially harmful substances from production processes, there is always a risk a substance could enter a finished consumer product. Complex supply chains make reporting on substances a time-consuming and detail-oriented process, and additional substances are added to the REACH Regulation’s Candidate List every six months. The goal of this regulation is to remove all known SVHCs from the supply chain, but doing so requires manufacturers to identify and adopt alternative substances.

Leveraging a third-party software solution can help alleviate the strain REACH compliance places on internal resources. A robust supply chain data management solution such as the Assent Compliance Platform helps companies meet their REACH requirements and centralize their data, allowing them to proactively remove substances from their products ahead of their restriction. To learn how Assent can support your company, 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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