REACH is an expansive set of European Union regulations that affects all industries doing business in the EU. It basically puts the responsibility for chemical safety on the manufacturers of those chemicals, and brings the EU under one unified set of regulations. An important objective of these regulations is to encourage, and in certain situations, ensure chemicals of high concern are replaced with less dangerous chemicals or eliminated.
Ongoing draft recommendations for substances of very high concern (SVHC)
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on 1/14/09 developed the first draft recommendation of substances of very high concern (SVHC) for inclusion in Annex XIV. There are now over 50 SVHCs and the list keeps growing.
REACH - Mouser's Position
Mouser Electronics, being a distributor of electronic components, supplies, and equipment, has a limited role in these new regulations. Although electronic components and supplies can be characterized as articles and substances, Mouser is not considered a manufacturer, importer, downstream user, or registrant under Article 3 of REACH. Mouser has no responsibility to register any of the components or supplies we distribute.
Mouser does have the responsibility to communicate SVHC information down the supply chain when provided by the manufacturer, per article 33 of the directive.
Mouser expects manufacturers to have robust environmental programs that adhere to the requirements of REACH, identify SVHC to Mouser, and provide Mouser with a Safety Data Sheet or other document prescribing the safe handling of their products which contains SVHCs in excess of 0.1% in any of the products homogenous materials. This is not always the case as manufacturers are free to comply or not comply with environmental laws from other countries. Customers wishing to ensure purchased products are free of SVHCs should choose manufacturers that openly and publicly support REACH.
Mouser has made suppliers aware of our above expectations and has asked for web links to their support and commitment to comply with REACH. Mouser has posted these links to the manufacturer's page on our website.
When Mouser is made aware of the presences of SVHC, we will communicate this to our customers, and provide them with a Safety Datasheet as required by article 33 of REACH. Safety Datasheets are meant to instruct the end-user (customer) on safe handling of the product with the SVHC. In most cases the amount will be small and encapsulated in the component. Exposure to the SVHC would require grinding the component up. This is not a normal way of handling the product, and a safety datasheet should reflect this distinction. A Safety Datasheet that describes how to handle a 55 gallon drum of the SVHC is not appropriate.
From Mouser's perspective, REACH is similar to RoHS. Mouser globally distributes a very wide selection of products and suppliers. As with RoHS, not all the products we sell will be REACH compliant at one time. For this reason Mouser, cannot sign a global agreement on REACH Compliance. Customers must take an active role in understanding environmental compliance of product and selecting products accordingly.