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REACH regulation impact on jewellery

REACH regulation impact on jewellery

Siobhan is based in Great Britain (GB) and sells antique jewellery on e-commerce websites such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy and in local markets. Siobhan uses antique jewellery and new components in order to create unique, bespoke pieces. The components and final products are subject to REACH regulation. Additionally, antique jewellery may contain substances of very high concern (SVHCs) such as lead (CAS 7439-92-1, EC 231-100-4) and nickel (CAS 7440-02-0, EC 231-111-4) which may be harmful to human health and the environment.

We used the steps outlined in our guide ‘Ultimate Guide to REACH Compliance‘ to help Siobhan maintain compliance with the REACH regulation. The steps are:

  1. Identify your role and the type of object that you are handling
  2. Use the legislation or guidance to identify your REACH obligations
  3. Take action to maintain REACH compliance

As a result of this work, Siobhan understands their REACH obligations and actions required to maintain compliance with the regulation. Additionally, customers can be assured that Siobhan’s products are safe for human health and the environment.

Role and the type of object

Key facts:

  • Siobhan is based in GB;
  • The jewellery is made of metals, glass and gemstones;
  • Siobhan purchases components from outside of the market in low volumes;
  • Siobhan does not melt down any components;
  • Siobhan assembles the jewellery in GB; and
  • Siobhan sells the jewellery to customers based in GB, European Economic Area (EEA) and worldwide.

Siobhan’s role under UK REACH is therefore:

  • Importer of an article;
  • Recipient of an article;
  • Producer of an article; and
  • Supplier of an article.

Siobhan does not have a role under EU REACH but her EEA-based customers may be an importer of an article.

Identify REACH obligations

Duty to communicate information on substances in articles

1. Any supplier of an article containing a [SVHC] in a concentration above 0,1 % weight by weight (w/w) shall provide the recipient of the article with sufficient information, available to the supplier, to allow safe use of the article including, as a minimum, the name of that substance.

2. On request by a consumer any supplier of an article containing a [SVHC] in a concentration above 0,1 % weight by weight (w/w) shall provide the consumer with sufficient information, available to the supplier, to allow safe use of the article including, as a minimum, the name of that substance.
The relevant information shall be provided, free of charge, within 45 days of receipt of the request.

REACH (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006) Article 33

Obligations

  • As recipient of an article, Siobhan may receive the name of any SVHC contained within that article in concentrations greater than 0.1% (w/w);
  • As supplier of an article to professionals (e.g. shops), Siobhan must inform the recipient with the name of any SVHC contained within that article in concentrations greater than 0.1% (w/w); and
  • As supplier of an article to consumers, Siobhan must respond to any request with the name of any SVHC contained within that article in concentrations greater than 0.1% (w/w), within 45 days of receipt of the request.

A list of SVHCs (i.e. the UK REACH candidate list) can be found here.

REACH restriction of lead, nickel and cadmium in jewellery

Restriction

1. A substance on its own, in a mixture or in an article, for which Annex XVII contains a restriction shall not be manufactured, placed on the market or used unless it complies with the conditions of that restriction. […]

REACH (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006) Article 67

Definition of placing on the market:

12. placing on the market: means supplying or making available, whether in return for payment or free of charge, to a third party. Import shall be deemed to be placing on the market;

REACH (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006) Article 3

Obligations

As importer of an article, producer of an article or supplier of an article, Siobhan must comply with the terms of any relevant restriction on Annex XVII.

Examples

There are a number of Annex XVII entries that may apply to Siobhan’s products. Two of those are explored below.

Nickel (CAS 7440-02-0, EC 231-111-4) and its compounds

1. Shall not be used:

(a) in any post assemblies which are inserted into pierced ears and other pierced parts of the human body unless the rate of nickel release from such post assemblies is less than 0,2 μg/cm2/week (migration limit);

(b) in articles intended to come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin such as:

— earrings,

— necklaces, bracelets and chains, anklets, finger rings,

— wrist-watch cases, watch straps and tighteners,

— rivet buttons, tighteners, rivets, zippers and metal marks, when these are used in garments,

if the rate of nickel release from the parts of these articles coming into direct and prolonged contact with the skin is greater than 0,5 μg/cm2/week.

(c) in articles referred to in point (b) where these have a non-nickel coating unless such coating is sufficient to ensure that the rate of nickel release from those parts of such articles coming into direct and prolonged contact with the skin will not exceed 0,5 μg/cm2/week for a period of at least two years of normal use of the article.

2. Articles which are the subject of paragraph 1 shall not be placed on the market unless they conform to the requirements set out in that paragraph.

3. The standards adopted by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) shall be used as the test methods for demonstrating the conformity of articles to paragraphs 1 and 2.

REACH (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006) Annex XVII, entry 27

Comments

Siobhan can ask suppliers to confirm if the components contain nickel, and if they do, that they comply with the restriction.

Siobhan may contract a laboratory to undertake the testing specified paragraph 3 and confirm if the nickel release limits are compliant with the restriction terms.

If the cost of testing is too prohibitive then Siobhan may be able to put a coating on the jewellery that prevents or slows down any release of nickel.

Lead (CAS 7439-92-1, EC 231-100-4) and its compounds

1. Shall not be placed on the market or used in any individual part of jewellery articles if the concentration of lead (expressed as metal) in such a part is equal to or greater than 0,05 % by weight.

2. For the purposes of paragraph 1:
(i) ‘jewellery articles’ shall include jewellery and imitation jewellery articles and hair accessories, including:
(a) bracelets, necklaces and rings;
(b) piercing jewellery;
(c) wrist watches and wrist-wear;
(d) brooches and cufflinks;
(ii) ‘any individual part’ shall include the materials from which the jewellery is made, as well as the individual components of the jewellery articles.

3. Paragraph 1 shall also apply to individual parts when placed on the market or used for jewellery-making.

4. By way of derogation, paragraph 1 shall not apply to:
(a) crystal glass as defined in Annex I (categories 1, 2, 3 and 4) to Council Directive 69/493/EEC (*14);
(b) internal components of watch timepieces inaccessible to consumers;
(c) non-synthetic or reconstructed precious and semiprecious stones (CN code 7103 , as established by Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87), unless they have been treated with lead or its compounds or mixtures containing these substances;
(d) enamels, defined as vitrifiable mixtures resulting from the fusion, vitrification or sintering of minerals melted at a temperature of at least 500 °C.

5. By way of derogation, paragraph 1 shall not apply to jewellery articles placed on the market for the first time before 9 October 2013 and jewellery articles produced before 10 December 1961.

[…]

REACH (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006) Annex XVII, entry 63

Comments

Siobhan can ask suppliers to confirm if the components contain lead, and if they do, that they comply with the restriction.

Siobhan may test articles for lead and, if positive, that the concentration is compliant with the terms set out above. If it is too difficult or cost prohibitive, Siobhan may use a spot test and avoid the use of those articles that contain lead. Alternatively, Siobhan may undertake a qualitative assessment to ensure that the exemption set out in paragraph 5 is relevant to individual articles.

Cadmium (CAS 7440-43-9, EC 231-152-8) and its compounds

[…]

10. Shall not be used or placed on the market if the concentration is equal to or greater than
0,01 % by weight of the metal in:
(i) metal beads and other metal components for jewellery making;
(ii) metal parts of jewellery and imitation jewellery articles and hair accessories,
including:
— bracelets, necklaces and rings,
— piercing jewellery,
— wrist-watches and wrist-wear,
— brooches and cufflinks.

11. By way of derogation, paragraph 10 shall not apply to articles placed on the market
before 10 December 2011 and jewellery more than 50 years old on 10 December 2011.

REACH (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006) Annex XVII, entry 23

Comments

Siobhan can ask suppliers to confirm if the components contain cadmium, and if they do, that they comply with the restriction.

Siobhan may test articles for cadmium and, if positive, that the concentration is compliant with the terms set out above. If it is too difficult or cost prohibitive, Siobhan may use a spot test and avoid the use of those articles that contain cadmium. Alternatively, Siobhan may undertake a qualitative assessment to ensure that the exemption set out in paragraph 11 is relevant to individual articles.

Other potential obligations

The example substances above are not exhaustive.

Siobhan’s import of articles may trigger the need to notify the agency in accordance with Article 7(2). However, anticipated import volumes are expected to be much lower than the threshold.

Customers role under EU REACH

As Siobhan’s operations are based outside the European Economic Area, they have no obligations under EU REACH. It may be beneficial, however, to provide EEA-based customers with information that may help them to comply with any duties they attract under the EU REACH regulation.

Please note that the candidate list and restriction list are different under UK and EU REACH.

Recommendations to maintain REACH compliance

Siobhan should:

  • Request information on substances contained within articles from suppliers, where possible;
  • Avoid the use of articles containing nickel, lead or cadmium, or, test to ensure that they comply with the terms of restriction;
  • Undertake a qualitative assessment to ensure that lead or cadmium-containing articles are exempt from restriction by any derogations;
  • Inform non-consumer recipients of articles if they contain SVHCs (e.g. lead) in concentrations greater than 0.1% (w/w);
  • Respond to consumer SVHC requests within 45 days; and
  • Provide information to EEA-based customers to allow them to comply with any duties they attract under EU REACH.

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Steven Brennan

Steven is a Regulatory Consultant and helps companies to maintain compliance with chemical regulations. He writes about REACH, RoHS and other environmental regulations in his spare time.

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