Knowledge Center

Welcome to the Tanzco Environmental Compliance Knowledge Center

Here you will find articles, links, and other rescources to help you understand your obligations under the various chemical laws that may effect your business. The goal is to help you gain a basic understanding of your role in the supply chain and your obligations under the various chemical laws such as REACH, ROHS, California Green Chemistry, TSCA, and the pending Safe Chemicals Act of 2010.

Our consultants are available to answer any questions that you may have regarding these laws. They are also available for on-site training of your staff or to help you develop an Environmental Management System for your company that can be based on ISO 14001, R2 (Responsible Recycling) or other popular standard.

Links to previously published articles and blog posts can be found here and this page will be updated frequently, so check back often. You can also sign up for our free monthly newsletter or our update services that will be tailored to your specific needs and is priced based on the regulated activites of your company.

ROHS Update: Electronics industry braces for further regulation

The EU (European Union) is moving through the process of recasting its ROHS (Restriction Of Hazardous Substances) environmental directive. By the end of this year or early 2011, a ROHS recast will likely carve away exclusions and possibly add new substances to the current list of six banned substances. Many industry observers are even more concerned about ROHS becoming part of Europe's CE mark, which would require the electronics supply chain to produce greater detail about the contents of their products.

The final vote of the full European Parliament has been put back to October. The postponement comes because the EU's Environment Committee is meeting with the Council of Ministers to get on the same page in expanding the scope of ROHS. The goal is a smooth vote from the full parliament in October. Though ROHS is a European-centric directive, most of the electronics industry adopts its restrictions to avoid producing different products for different regions.


Expanded scope: Fewer exclusions

So far the Environmental Committee has agreed that ROHS should be expanded in scope to include all electrical and electronic equipment, with a few exceptions such as renewable-energy generation and certain large-scale installations and military equipment. Currently ROHS only bans substances in eight product categories, with two more slated to be added in 2014. Implementation of the October parliament vote will likely begin in 2013 or 2014.

The narrowing of exemptions hasn't hit the industry as a surprise. The oil and gas market segments are examples of customers starting to require  that electronics used by those industries be ROHS compliant in advance of those segments being officially included in the scope of EU ROHS as enacted today. The medical and monitoring - categories 8 and 9 - products will be included in scope of the adopted EU ROHS recast. The medical and monitoring equipment segments have been converting to ROHS compliance so that's not a revolutionary change.

At Arrow Electronics Inc in Melville, NY, the components division has been braced for additional ROHS substances with fewer exclusions. "With more end equipment coming into scope, we find more of our customers needing to comply for the first time and, therefore, they're looking to Arrow for help in terms of information on transitioning to compliant solutions," said Peter Kong, president of Arrow Electronics Global Components. "With the initial ROHS implementation, we built an internal infrastructure that allows us to support the continued evolution of the regulation as additional substances are added and/or exemptions removed."

New substances will be banned

The Environment Committee took a pass on adding PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants) to the original six banned substances. Instead, they asked for further study. The electronics industry, however, is expecting these substances will eventually be added. Given that assumption, an industry coalition voluntarily stopped using PVC and BFRs and it has asked the industry to follow suit in finding alternatives. The group includes Acer, Dell, HP, and Sony Ericsson, as well as the environmental groups ChemSec, Clean-Production Action, and the European Environmental Bureau.

The group has asked the industry to eliminate the use of these substances in consumer electronics from 2015 onward. Many electronics companies have voluntarily moved to eliminate PVC and BFRs from their products. Some industry watchers are skeptical about how thoroughly these companies are restricting BFRs and PVC.

"These companies are acting they way they do because Greenpeace has a gun to their heads," said Fern Abrams, director of government relations and environmental policy at the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC) in Bannockburn, Ill. "I would suspect this was a business decision - it's easier to negotiate with ChemSec than against them."

As for the coalition companies actually eliminating all BFRs and PVC substances, Abrams is doubtful. "The footnotes to their statement on their Web sites look like credit card agreements."

One of the efforts from the coalition is information on how companies can effectively eliminate the use of BFRs and PVC. "We've worked on the educational aspect of this issue," said Alexandra McPherson, managing partner of Clean Production Action in Spring Brook, NY. "We've produced a technical report that shows the feasibility of the transition away from these substances. We did the report for both the policy members in Europe who will decide what's going to be included in ROHS, and for the electronics supply chain so we could tell them what strategies companies have developed to overcome the challenges and barriers to removing PVC and BFR."

CE mark requirements will be difficult on small and mid-sized manufacturers

One of the impending restrictions that strikes that greatest terror into the heart of the electronics supply chain is the almost inevitable prospect of ROHS becoming a "CE mark" directive. That would require a significant escalation in reporting of content in electronic products. Presently, companies simply state their products are compliant and it's up to European monitoring agencies to test the products and prove a company's claim is false.

"CE mark hasn't been voted on yet, but the industry now believes it's certain ROHS will become a CE mark directive. That's significant," said Gary Nevison, legislation and environmental affairs

Source URL: http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=18609

US environmental watchdogs are tightening rules to cover dangerous toxic chemicals used in consumer goods and industrial processes.

Those using hazardous flame retardants, dyes, dry cleaning detergents and other chemicals will now have to comply with tighter regulations.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published action plans for a number of chemicals that would come into force under the proposed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said: "The action plans announced today are examples of EPA's renewed dedication to improve chemical safety to protect the health of the American people and the environment.

"These action plans lay out concrete steps EPA intends to take to address the risks associated with chemicals commonly used in this country."

The plans look at ways of reducing the health risks posed by benzidine dyes, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and nonylphenol (NP)/nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs).
Benzidine dyes are used to make textiles, paints, printing inks, paper, and pharmaceuticals and may pose health problems, including cancer.

HBCD is used as a flame retardant in expanded polystyrene foam in the building and construction industry and in some consumer products. It is persistent and bioaccumulative in the environment and could cause reproductive, developmental, and neurological effects in people.

NP/NPEs are used in many industrial applications and consumer products such as detergents, cleaners, agricultural and indoor pesticides and food packaging. These chemicals have all been detected in people.

Mr Owens welcomed industry steps to address some of these issues. "While EPA intends to address the potential risks associated with these chemicals we are pleased that the industrial laundry industry has decided to not wait for regulatory action to be completed by the agency and is voluntarily taking steps now to phase out the use of NPEs," he said.

The EPA first announced plans to develop the Chemicals of Concern list last December. It indicates that the chemicals may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health and the environment.

The agency claims that this implementation of the previously unused TSCA authority signals its commitment to use the tools currently available while supporting legislative reform of the TSCA.


REACH Regulation: The 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions

After five years of  involvement with chemicals, substances, and environmental compliance regulations, we’ve heard, asked, and answered a lot of questions.  So far, nothing has prompted the surge of questions that the REACH regulation has generated.

With the November, 2010 REACH deadline approaching, now is a great time to clear up the top five most commonly asked questions about REACH.

What is the REACH timeline?

The REACH Regulation entered into force in Europe on June 1, 2007.  It’s still rising to its crest.

 

What is the goal of REACH and what’s been its impact so far?

REACH is an acronym – it stands for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals.  The big-picture goal of REACH is the safe use of chemicals in our environment. The hope is that, ultimately, because of REACH everyone will have the information they need to use chemicals safely. In the more immediate-future, REACH seeks to limit or prohibit the use of toxic substances in products.

REACH is a landmark piece of legislation with enormous impact.

REACH affects manufacturing and distribution companies that:

  • have a supply chain that runs through Europe in any way
  • import from, source from, or manufacture in Europe
  • sell products in Europe
  • plan to sell products in Europe

For instance: occasionally there is a recall or outcry over a significant amount of toxic substances such as cadmium or lead in a product like jewelry or paint. But who’s accountable? We’re not always sure. REACH is specific about who is accountable for which chemicals in a product, supply chain, or processing event. Companies must now concern themselves with what chemicals and substances suppliers use, as well as the ones used or emitted by their customers.

Overall, the idea behind REACH is to streamline and improve the previous legislative framework for chemicals.  REACH has driven raw material transparency requirements to an unprecedented level of market and regulatory attention.

In practical terms, this means that manufacturing and distribution companies are now implementing appropriate systems to measure, track and manage chemicals in their products and supply chains. This chemical accounting, as it were, appears to be good news for most with environmental interests, including the public in general.  Currently, the best way to manage REACH compliance is with a dedicated relational database and automated supplier communication, usually in the form of auto-dispatched emails that include a link that suppliers click to access their part of the database.

It’s a new, unpaved road. But there’s hope for a smooth ride: the hope is that once REACH settles in and companies have grown accustomed to its demands, then a safer environment will actually be fairly easy to maintain.

What is the difference between an SVHC list and a SIN list, and what other resources are there?

The SVHC list is the list of Substances of Very High Concern. Only the European community could come up with such a tactful term for “highly toxic stuff.” So far, the list is really just candidates – or substances that are likely to officially make the list when it does become final. As of this writing there are 38 substances on the SVHC list; the most recent additions were made in June 2010. The number is likely to increase to 165 identified substances by 2012.

More familiar substances on the list include types of lead, arsenic, and coal tar.

Substances of Very High Concern include substances which are:

  • Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or toxic to Reproduction
  • Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) or very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative (vPvB) (defined by REACH criteria), and/or
  • identified causing probable serious effects to humans or the environment of an equivalent level of concern as those above, e.g. endocrine disrupters

SVHCs have hazardous properties of very high concern. It is essential to regulate them because the effects they can have on humans and the environment are very serious and often irreversible. There is no tonnage threshold for a substance to be subject to authorization. Bear in mind that “tonne” in this case means the European tonne measure, which is slightly larger than the U.S. ton.

The identification of a substance as a Substance of Very High Concern and its inclusion in the Candidate List is the first step of the authorization procedure. ECHA, which stands for the European Chemicals Agency, is the “mission control” of REACH administration. For assistance, they recommend contacting the Helpdesk for the particular EU member state where you are planning to source from or sell into.

Companies may have immediate legal obligations following such inclusion, so it’s best to be prepared for substances that are likely to make the list. Immediate legal obligations are linked to the listed substance on its own, in preparations and articles.  The latest SVHC candidate list is online here and here.

If you’re wondering which substances are likely to make the SVHC list in the future, take a look at the SIN list.  The SIN list is a list of things manufacturers should avoid.

The SIN list – as the name suggests – is an itemization of substances that “thou shalt not” get involved with.  The SIN list is a list of substances that are likely to make it onto the SVHC list. The SIN list came about because the SVHC listed a handful of substances NOT to use – and companies wanted to know if the chosen replacements would turn up banned in the future. The SIN list contains over 350 chemical-substances that should be replaced now. SIN is in fact an acronym for:  “Substitute it NOW!”

One tricky aspect of REACH is that its enforcement is different in each member state in the EU. Penalties and fines for lack of REACH compliance in Hungary, for example, are different than the penalties and fines in Poland – in some cases they’re enormously different.  So you must figure out which member state is most relevant to your concern.

This issue comes up, for example, if you have REACH questions. If your in-house REACH system hits a snag, the place to start searching for help on REACH would be the REACH helpdesk – but you need to select the one established in the appropriate member state, according to your unique chemical portfolio. These necessary layers of expertise can be frustrating and can derail a product initiative; these convolutions of legalities are why companies turn to software for REACH compliance.

Will there be REACH-like chemical regulation in the U.S.?

Yes, is the short answer. REACH-like chemical regulation is brewing in the U.S. The U.S. has had chemical regulation under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) since 1976. However, interpretation and enforcement have been fleeting. The current EPA is working hard to update chemical legislation – see here and here – and the only sensible way to do it is to create a registration, evaluation, and authorization process. Which sounds a lot like an acronym for REACH, doesn’t it? Another parallel initiative is the California Green Chemistry initiative, which has REACH-like requirements and is a close cousin to the EU regulation.

State by state, expect to see more regional laws trying to regulate chemicals in products, production, and waste streams. While the effort is admirable, the result is often a mish-mash of rules, standards, and regulations that makes managing compliance a challenge at best.

Interestingly, chemical companies and their lobbyists tend to be on board with pursuing chemical legislation at the federal level. The reason is simple: manufacturers and chemical companies want one simple set of rules to adhere to.  Businesses do not benefit from the current multi-dimensional spider web of regulations, standards, and initiatives coming into play.  The closer regulations get to being universal, the easier they are to follow.  Problem is, of course, getting everyone to agree on one set of regulation procedures and standards.  The major agencies seem challenged to come at the solution from the same point of view.

In the meantime, it’s critical to stay tuned to information streams such as Environmental Leader to keep current as more localized REACH-like regulation rolls out.

How can a company comply with REACH and REACH-like chemical regulation?

Fairly, some criticize REACH and similar initiatives as being prohibitive to industrial growth – and in fact the infancy of these programs does pose a daunting and even tedious, if not impossible, task in terms of untangling disparate pieces of data.

When you have to gather and parse materials-data from suppliers, use-cases from customers, and all the regulatory footholds in a very steep cliff of compliance – it’s onerous, if not impossible.  However, modern challenges seem to generate modern solutions: and in this case there is software now available to solve the challenge of REACH Compliance and of Chemical Regulation Compliance in general.



January 1, 2011 is the statutory deadline for California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to adopt its potentially game-changing "Green Chemistry" regulations for companies that produce chemicals or consumer products for use in California. That deadline seemed comfortably distant when AB 1879 was passed in 2008, but is now just around the corner. DTSC's bold "Green Chemistry" Initiative is focused on designing products and processes that will reduce or eliminate the need to manage and control waste at the end of the lifecycle.

Whether DTSC can address the mountain of comments it received from stakeholders during the now-closed comment period for its latest draft regulation, entitled "Safer Consumer Product Alternatives," and issue final regulations by that date remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it is not a question of "if" Green Chemistry regulations will be adopted, only "when" and "what" exactly they will require. As such, companies that produce chemicals or consumer products for use in California should be looking at the potential impacts on their operations and developing a compliance strategy, if they are not doing so already.

Consumer products subject to the Green Chemistry program are very broadly defined to be any product used, bought or leased for use by a person for any purposes, with exceptions provided for certain drugs, devices, food and pesticides. As such, these regulations have a huge potential reach. Not every consumer product will face the full impact of these new regulations and many companies may see little or no impact. However, some companies will face a daunting task in complying with this new regulatory program. Although the statute does not have the "citizen's suit" provision contained in California's other unique consumer product chemical safety law, Proposition 65, the proposed regulations have the potential to be much more intrusive into a company's operations.

For example, the draft regulations call for the identification of a list of "chemicals of concern" and "products of concern" containing those chemicals, leading to a final list of "priority products." Manufacturers of priority products (which can include importers or private label manufacturers whose name appears on products produced by others) will need to perform assessments to evaluate the level of hazard to human health and the environment posed by the presence of the chemical in the product, and identify the potential safer alternatives. These alternatives assessments will be based on a multimedia life cycle analysis, looking at not only exposure associated with the product itself but the whole life cycle of the product, including its manufacturing and final disposal. These alternatives assessments will require review and approval by DTSC. There are a wide range of potential regulatory responses to the alternatives assessment, including; no action required, providing information to the consumer, end-of-life management (manufacturer take-back programs), engineering safety measures, restrictions on use, or even outright prohibitions on product sales.

The final regulations likely will be different than the draft version currently available on DTSC's website at: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative/upload/Safer-Product-Alternative-Regulations-6-23-10.pdf. Nonetheless, substantial elements of the regulatory program are required by the legislation, AB 1879, and even if the non-required elements are revised substantially or removed completely, the statutorily-required elements represent a regulatory regime different in kind than what most companies face currently.

Even if the new regulations are adopted by the January 1, 2011 deadline, the program will take some time to unfold. DTSC will be taking the lead in identifying chemicals of concern and products of concern, which will undoubtedly take substantial time to accomplish. It may be quite a while for alternatives analyses to actually begin. Nonetheless, some of the elements of the program, such as submission of chemical and product information by manufacturers in response to requests from DTSC, will come into play much earlier in the process. Manufacturers could find themselves responding to such information requests, and deciding whether to assert a claim that the submitted information is confidential information, long before the program works its way to the alternatives assessments stage.

Given the fast-track of the regulations, manufacturers, importers and distributors will want to review the available draft regulations and begin to assess the potential impacts on their businesses. Many companies already have sophisticated programs to carefully assess the chemicals that they use in their products and continuously search for the safest alternatives and will be well-positioned to comply with the new regulatory program, whenever it is adopted. Other companies may take comfort in knowing that their products do not contain the types of hazardous or controversial chemicals that are likely to make the list as chemicals of concern. However, many companies will find themselves at least potentially subject to these new rules and should take care to avoid being blindsided by discovery in the future that their product requires an analysis of safer alternatives based on a complete life cycle analysis under this new program.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Contact on of our Specialists for specific advice about your specific circumstances.

ECHA consults on 11 nominations for Candidate List SVHCs

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is inviting comments by 14 October on the hazardous properties of the latest batch of 'substances of very high concern" proposed to be added to the REACH Candidate List.

Three Member States - the Netherlands, Austria and Germany - have nominated 11 substances:

Cobalt(II) sulphate

233-334-2

   10124-43-3

   

Cobalt(II) dinitrate

233-402-1

   10141-05-6

   

Cobalt(II) carbonate

208-169-4

   513-79-1

   

Cobalt(II) diacetate

200-755-8

   71-48-7

   

2-Methoxyethanol

203-713-7

   109-86-4

   

2-Ethoxyethanol

203-804-1

   110-80-5

   

1,3,5 Trichlorobenzene

203-608-6

   108-70-3

   

1,2,3 Trichlorobenzene

201-757-1

   87-61-6

   

1,2,4 Trichlorobenzene

204-428-0

   120-82-1

   

Chromium trioxide

215-607-8

   1333-82-0

   

Acids generated from chromium trioxide and their oligomers

       

Group containing:

   

Chromic acid

231-801-5

   7738-94-5

Dichromic acid

236-881-5

   13530-68-2

Oligomers of chromic acid and dichromic acid

   


Current Issues

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 provides the solution by giving the EPA tools to protect the public from new and old pathways of exposure to toxic chemicals.