On 29 November 2022, the UK government published the results of a consultation process on extending the UK REACH deadlines.This consultation was conducted from 5 July to 1 September this year by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). In total, 289 responses were submitted to the consultation, with the majority coming from the industry. One of the major concerns by the stakeholders was the registration deadline. The DEFRA had put forward the following three options for the consultation:
Baseline – do not change the current submission deadlines (27 October 2023, 27 October 2025, and 27 October 2027)
Option 1 – extend all the current submission deadlines of each tonnage band by 3 years to October 2026, October 2028, and October 2030
Option 2 (option preferred by the government) – extend the first submission deadline by 3 years to October 2026, the second by 2 years to October 2027, and the third by 1 year to October 2028
82% of respondents selected Option 1, which would mean that the three registration deadlines (October 2023, 2025, and 2027) should be extended by 3 years.
The DEFRA acknowledges that Option 1 could lessen burdens on SMEs and downstream users without reducing levels of protection of human health and the environment. The next step is a request for administration consent and introduction legislation on extension of the submission deadlines across all tonnage bands by 3 years.
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as the implementing agency for UK REACH, is currently consulting on different potential options for a UK REACH restriction on substances to be used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up.
The proposed restriction would be in line with a similar restriction introduced in the EU through Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/2081, which entered into force in January 2022.
According to the HSE, uncertainties about the substances causing tattoo-related complications and their prevalence, it is difficult to quantify the level of risk that is associated with substance use for tattoo inks and permanent make-up. The restriction is therefore proposed on a precautionary basis, and it seeks to address the lack of UK regulations on the topic.
In line with the existing EU restriction, the UK restriction proposal would address the following groups of substances, imposing conditions on their use in tattoo inks and permanent make-up:
Substances that have a harmonized hazard classification under the UK CLP for one of the following hazards:
Carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction (categories 1A, 1B or 2)
Skin sensitising (categories 1, 1A or 1B)
Skin irritant or corrosive (categories 1A, 1B, 1C or 2)
Eye damaging and irritant (categories 1 or 2)
Substances that have been prohibited under the EU Cosmetics Regulation (listed in Annex II therein)
Colorants subject to use conditions under the EU Cosmetics Regulation (as specified in its Annex IV)
For these substance groups, HSE is proposing three alternative restriction options. While the restriction proposal contains several exceptions, the overarching approaches are depicted in the table below. A further point of differentiation is the automatic implementation of changes to the EU Regulation.
Harmonized through UK CLP
Annex II of the EU Cosmetics Regulation
Cannot be used if prohibited
Annex IV of the EU Cosmetics Regulation
Cannot be used if prohibited
Automatic incorporation of list updates
Yes for all
Yes for UK CLP
No for EU Regulation Annexes
Yes for all
Additionally, the restriction would also introduce some labelling requirements to complement existing regulations on the topic:
The labelling of all ingredients that would not be identified under the UK CLP
The highlight of the presence of nickel and chromium VI if applicable
The provision of a manufacturer’s reference number
The identification of the intended use of a mixture as tattoo ink or in permanent make-up, and instructions for use
Consultation on the scope of the restriction and on the proposed restriction options is open until November 6, 2022. An additional consultation will be held at a later stage on the socioeconomic impacts of the restriction.
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