Guide

Chemical manufacturing hazardous substance regulations

Restrictions on using hazardous chemicals

If you manufacture chemicals or chemical products that contain hazardous or dangerous substances, you must control their risks to human health and the environment. There are restrictions on marketing some chemical substances and how you use them.

Comply with restrictions

You must comply with any restrictions that may be placed on chemicals when they are shown to cause harm to human health or the environment. You might use restricted chemicals in manufacturing chemical products or preparations such as paints, varnishes, cosmetics, pesticides, soaps and detergents. You should regularly review the hazardous substances you use and where possible use less harmful alternatives.

Annex XVII of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation places restrictions on marketing or using certain chemical substances and preparations, or both.

You must comply with a restriction regardless of how much of a chemical you market or use. You will be committing an offence if you fail to comply with the conditions of a restriction.

A restriction may:

  • ban the use of a chemical for a specific activity or purpose
  • set a concentration limit for a specific activity or purpose
  • apply to all users or just to specific uses, eg exceptions may exist for some professional or industrial uses

Examples of chemical restrictions

Chemicals restricted or banned from marketing or use include:

  • organotin compounds (including tributyltin (TBT), triphenyltin (TPT) and dioctyltin (DOT)) for use in some mixtures and articles in concentrations greater than 0.1 per cent - including in some textile products worn next to the skin, gloves and footwear and female hygiene products, and in some adhesive and plastic products, eg guttering
  • dibutyltin hydrogen borate (di-u-oxo-di-n-butylstanniohydroxyborane (DBB)) in substances and mixtures in concentrations greater than 0.1 per cent - including in some glass coatings
  • nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylate in concentrations of 0.1 per cent or more for most industrial, institutional and domestic cleaning products and pesticide and cosmetic products
  • organic solvents above limit values in paints, varnishes and vehicle refinishing products - see solvent limits in paints and varnishes and solvent limits in vehicle refinishing products
  • pentachlorophenol (PCP) in substances and mixtures in concentrations greater than 0.1 per cent
  • polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs) - see polychlorinated biphenyl responsibilities for chemical manufacturers
  • pesticides that contain certain active substances, such as endosulfan and TBT
  • detergents and cosmetics that contain fragrance ingredients that could cause allergies
  • some chlorinated solvents including 1,1,2 trichloroethane, chloroform and dichloromethane (DCM) - including DCM in concentrations of greater than 0.1 per cent in paint strippers
  • substances which are carcinogenic, mutagenic and/or toxic for reproduction

Check if a chemical is restricted

Annex XVII of REACH is subject to change. You should check it regularly to keep up to date with restrictions on the chemicals you work with.

If your chemicals are classed as persistent organic pollutants you must comply with international controls on their production, use and disposal - see persistent organic pollutant responsibilities for chemical manufacturers.

You must use a chemical substance within its safe exposure limits - see distributors and users of chemicals: REACH responsibilities.

You may also have obligations under other legislation about the chemicals you use in your products, for example to control and protect user safety and human health in cosmetic products.

Apply for chemical authorisations

REACH identifies some substances with known high risks to human health or the environment as substances of very high concern. These substances have further restrictions on their use.

You may need to get an authorisation from the European Commission to market or use these substances for specific uses.

See REACH - substances of very high concern and restricted chemicals.

Other limits on hazardous substances

If you manufacture biocidal products, or supply a chemical to be used as an active substance, these must be approved before they can be sold or used. Biocidal products include disinfectants for home and industrial use, preservatives or pest control products - see pesticides and biocides.

If your business manufactures, recycles, imports, exports or rebrands electrical or electronic equipment (EEE) you must limit the amount of certain hazardous substances in new equipment - see restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS).

If your business manufactures or imports batteries, or machinery or EEE containing batteries, you must limit the amount of cadmium and mercury contained in new batteries - see batteries responsibilities for business.