Most of the European products sold online do not comply with the regulations on chemical products

The latest report of the REF-8 project, which assesses compliance with the European regulations REACH, CLP and BPR, concludes that almost 80% of the online sales products inspected violated the legislation

The Compliance Information Exchange Forum (FORUM) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has just published the results of its eighth REACH-EN-FORCE (REF-8) project, which focused on analysing compliance with REACH, CLP and BPR regulations in products sold online.

The figures that show its results are alarming: of the almost 6000 products evaluated in 29 European countries, 78% of them did not comply with at least one regulatory requirement, which resulted in the implementation of more than 5000 preventive measures by the national authorities.


What were the main infractions detected?

The evaluation of each product has been individualized, and the inspection has verified compliance with the three main European regulations on chemical products.

With respect to the REACH Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of chemical substances and mixtures, 2,600 products containing restricted substances were verified, including, for example, textiles, leather, childcare articles, toys and jewellery. Of all of them, almost 1800 contained carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR) substances, such as lead and boric acid. In principle, products containing restricted CMRs should only be available to professional users, but according to the report, 99% of inspected products containing CMRs were available for consumers to purchase online. Violations were also found for phthalates in toys and cadmium in jewellery.

According to the CLP regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures, 75% of the evaluated products presented non-compliances related to the lack of information on the dangers of the chemical in online advertising, either due to the lack of information or because although the information was present, it was often not clearly visible.

In relation to biocides, 77% of the products analysed, most of them sold directly to the consumer, did not comply with the BPR regulations, a figure that increases to almost 80% in the case of repellents and attractants. It is striking that almost 20% of them were sanctioned because they had misleading statements in their advertisements such as "low risk biocidal product", "non-toxic", "harmless", "natural", "respectful with the environment" or “respectful with animals''.


Awareness, a pending task

After analysing all this data, ECHA has concluded that an important awareness-raising effort is needed for all the actors involved: companies and online stores, to ensure their commitment to the safety of their products by complying with the applicable regulations. ; and to consumers, so that they seek and demand accurate and up-to-date information on the dangerous chemical substances contained in the products they are going to purchase.


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