Despite lobbying by the European leather industry, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has approved the addition of glutaraldehyde to the REACH Candidate List for Substances of Very High Concern. Details of the decision can be found here.
This places certain obligations on suppliers of articles containing glutaraldehyde at a concentration of greater than 0.1% w/w. A ‘Supplier’ of an article is defined as: any producer or importer of an article, distributor or other actor in the supply chain (e.g. a retailer) placing an article on the market.
Any supplier of an article containing an SVHC on the ‘Candidate List’ in a concentration above 0.1 % (w/w) has the duty to provide the recipient of the article with sufficient information to allow safe use of the article. This information also needs to be provided to consumers within 45 days of a request.
While the inclusion of glutaraldehyde on the candidate list is not expected to be a major issue for the leather sector, it does increase the risk that glutaraldehyde could be included on the REACH Authorisation list, which would mean far more onerous obligations and the expectation that its use would ultimately be discontinued.
Leather UK will report on any developments in this area.