Distribution

After a product (chemical or article) is produced and packed, you probably aim to deliver it to the client. There are certain duties you shall fulfil regarding content of hazardous substances in your product.

Your responsibilities depend whether the product is chemical or article and whether it is intended for another professional user (business) or a consumer. With regard to hazardous substances, the proper information is a key for risk management; therefore, your ability to communicate such information to your clients makes an important part of the product value in eyes of customers.

Chemicals

Producers of chemicals are responsible for safe packaging and labelling of a chemical according to CLP regulation[i], but content of certain substances is regulated by REACH regulation[ii] on authorisation (REACH, Articles 57, 58) and restrictions (REACH, Article 67) of certain substances.

If a chemical supplied to professional user is classified as dangerous or contains dangerous substances above certain limits, a safety data (Article 31, REACH) shall be provided, in other cases supplier shall communicate to the client the registration number of substances (ingredients of mixtures), authorisation or restriction provisions if relevant, and any other relevant information necessary for appropriate risk management (Article 32, REACH). Although this information is already submitted, in case you acquire any new relevant information for safe risk management you shall communicate down to customers (Article 34 REACH).

In case the chemical can be classified as a dangerous good, rules for transportation of dangerous goods[iii], and safe storage shall be applied. In case you sub-contract another companies for such tasks you still shall ascertain that your business partner complies with legal requirements mentioned hereto.

Articles

Producers of articles are obliged to comply with requirements regarding authorisation (REACH, Articles 57, 58) and restrictions (REACH, Article 67) of certain substances. If the article is intended for the general public, it must be safe[iv], but comply also with more specific requirements depending on product type, for example, electric and electronic equipment (ROHS[v]) or toys[vi].

Suppliers of articles containing substances or candidates for authorisation in concentrations above 0.1% (weight by weight) shall provide sufficient information for their business customers (professional users of traders) necessary for safe use of the article, at least the name of the relevant substance. To general public (consumers) you shall provide such information upon their request within 45 days (Article 33, REACH regulation). This means, if you are an article producer, you shall have such information in place, and ascertain, that your suppliers have fulfilled their obligations towards you. A good chemicals inventory at your company including also information on articles helps you to organise such tasks in more efficient way.

Your business client might ask you more information about your product (article) – a material declaration on content of hazardous substances content (for example, ROHS). The law does not regulate such requests but your ability to satisfy information needs of your client increases your competitiveness.

Depending on the product and clients, issuing voluntary declarations on your product (both - chemicals and articles), as well as joining voluntary ecolabeling schemes or product environmental declaration schemes might increase your competitiveness as well (more guidance for better product communication with your clients will be developed during this project and published here).


[i] Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP Regulation)

[ii] Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)

[iii] DIRECTIVE 2008/68/EC on the inland transport of dangerous goods

[iv] Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety

[v] Directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment as Directive 2002/95/EC repealed in 2013

[vi] Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys