Lead metal named as REACH SVHC

Lead metal, along with nine other substances, was included in the REACH Candidate List as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) at the end of June 2018. See https://www.echa.europa.eu/-/ten-new-substances-added-to-the-candidate-list for details of the substances.

batteryInclusion on the Candidate List triggers immediate communication obligations in the supply chain. Suppliers of articles containing >0.1% by weight of metal lead must inform their customers down the supply chain and, upon demand, the general public. This applies when the article is supplied for the first time after the substance is formally included in the Candidate List. Further details on the obligations can be found at https://echa.europa.eu/candidate-list-obligations

Further regulatory actions might be taken to address lead metal over the coming years, including possible inclusion in the Authorisation List (Annex XIV REACH). Lead may be identified as a priority substance for authorisation due to its hazardous properties and high volume uses as well as consumer and worker exposure.

If identified as a priority substance, a specific public consultation is likely in 2019 or 2020. Afterwards, the decision whether to include lead metal in Annex XIV will be taken by the European Commission and Member States. As a worst-case scenario, lead might be included in the authorisation list in 2021 with a sunset date in 2024 at the earliest.

However, further risk management options were discussed at the ECHA Member States Committee in June 2018. Industry representatives called for strengthening of the existing legislation as an alternative to authorisation. This position was shared by several Member States. Eurometaux is launching an advocacy campaign to ensure that there is a proportionate method for risk control, given the widespread uses of the substance and lack of substitutes available. It has launched a new task force to support and coordinate advocacy by the wider downstream and end use sectors reliant on lead.

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