EU – Adopts Changes in REACH for Nanoform Substances

On December 3, 2018, the EU adopted an amendment to the REACH regulation to address substances that are in nanoform.  The lack of a specific regulatory definition and requirements for nanoform substances has been a known gap in the REACH regulation since it came into effect over ten years ago.  Substances in their nanoform often have different human health and environmental impacts than the same substances in their conventional forms.  But the difficultly in coming up with a suitable definition and information disclosure requirements has been a challenge.

The REACH amendment to address nanoforms of substances (Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/1881) is generally described as not being perfect, but it’s a starting point to move forward.  The amendment is available in the official journal[1]. The new requirements come into effect starting in 2020.

Impact on EEE Manufacturers

The new REACH requirements are most relevant to EU manufacturers and importers of nanoform substances.  This will impact only a very small fraction of the EEE industry that directly manufactures or use nanoform substances (such as some component manufacturers and their suppliers).

However, this does start to lay the ground work for identifying nanoform substances as SVHCs on the REACH Candidate List – which will in turn impact sub-assembly and finished product manufacturers. Given the prevalence of nanomaterials in electronics and that their use is often considered a trade secret, this will be a future challenge for the entire industry.

[1] REACH amendment for nanoforms, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32018R1881&from=EN