NASF Report February 2016: What’s the Impact of REACH Rules on U.S. Surface Treatment?

The brief summary below the EU’s regulation on REACH became law in June 2007 and created new obligations to manufacture, import or use new and existing chemicals in the EU.


What’s the Impact of REACH Rules on U.S. Surface Treatment?

NASF has recently received questions from members on the applicability of the European Union’s chemical regime to U.S. industry. The brief summary below the EU’s regulation on REACH became law in June 2007 and created new obligations to manufacture, import or use new and existing chemicals in the EU. The REACH process includes registration, evaluation, prioritization and authorization of chemicals.

The first part of these chemical management controls is the requirement to register chemicals used in the EU. Most, if not all, plated parts are exempt from the registration requirement because they are “articles” as defined by REACH.

Chemicals are then evaluated as part of a hazard classification process to determine if they should be included on the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC), such as boric acid and chromium trioxide (chromic acid). The EU has a goal to include up to 1,000 substances on the Candidate List by 2020. Articles, namely plated parts, imported into the EU that contain 0.1 percent or more of a SVHC (by weight of the substance compared to the total weight of the article) must provide immediate information sufficient to ensure safe use of the article to their customers and notify the European Chemical Agency (ECHA). Many companies may have received letters from customers asking if the plated part is in compliance with these REACH requirements.

Although it is unlikely that the weight of a SVHC in a coating would exceed more than 0.1 percent of the weight of the article, platers will either have to obtain appropriate assurances from their suppliers, or have to conduct some testing, to demonstrate to EU customers the amount of SVHCs that may be in the article. Without some type of documentation that the article is not subject to the notification requirement, customers may be forced to request that surface finishes not contain any of the SVHCs.

The SVHCs are then subject to a priority setting process to determine if additional controls and restrictions are needed for their continued use. EU member states may recommend that a SVHC should not be used without authorization. The ECHA will then make the final decision and could impose restrictions and management options for the continued use of the SVHC.

The sunset date for the continued use of chromium trioxide and chromic acid in the EU without authorization is September 21, 2017. After that date, only authorized users may use chromium trioxide and chromic acid in the EU. Even though the REACH requirements may not directly apply to most surface finishing operations in the U.S., they may prompt changes to chemical hazard classifications and chemical management requirements in federal and state regulations applicable in the U.S. In addition, many global plating customers may revise their procurement process to require vendors in their supply chain to comply with some standards from the REACH legislation for consistency across their global supply chains.

Christian Richter is Executive Vice President of the NASF. For more information, contact crichter@thepolicygroup.com, or visit NASF.org.


EPA Proposed Regulatory Clarifications for Hazardous Waste Generators

As a reminder to NASF members who have inquired about pending changes to federal hazardous waste rules, EPA recently issued a proposed regulation on hazardous waste generator improvements. The proposed revisions are mostly clarifications of the existing requirements for generators, such as how wastes should be labeled and the need to follow closure requirements for hazardous waste tanks, containers, central accumulation areas or containment buildings that are no longer used at a facility. The proposal also includes some changes in nomenclature (for example, conditionally exempt small quantity generators, CESQGs, are renamed as very small quantity generators, VSQGs) without any substantive changes to the requirements for hazardous waste generators.

A few proposed changes are new requirements, including provisions to: 1) document hazardous waste determinations with test results, test methods, QA/QC and basis for determination; 2) maintain records until a generator closes rather than for only three years; and 3) submit generator re-notification every two years.

The comment deadline was recently extended until December 24, 2015. Based on a review of EPA’s proposal and input from the surface finishing industry regarding the potential impact of the proposed clarifications, NASF did not submit comments on the proposed clarifications.

For information, contact Jeff Hannapel at jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com.


NASF Bright Design Challenge Awards

The NASF California Chapters, in conjunction with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, completed the 6th annual Bright Design Challenge. Five students were awarded scholarships: Bernard Mitchell, Krista Humphrey, Hiroshi Sakura, ChenFu Hsieh and Kira Song. The vast majority of past scholarship winners have developed successful careers in the surface finishing industry and are true assets to their chosen professions.


NASF Sur/Fin Exhibit Floor is Sold Out

The NASF Sur/Fin Manufacturing Conference and Trade Show exhibit floor is sold out. The association is currently reviewing options for expanding the size of the exhibit area. This year’s event—scheduled for June 6–8, 2016 in Las Vegas—will include 230 booths featuring an expanded selection of technologies and services offered by over 160 suppliers. Sur/Fin will again be the largest trade show in North America, exclusively dedicated to the surface treatment industry and the only industry specific tradeshow sponsored by the industry’s leading association, the NASF.

 

Originally published in the February 2016 issue.