REACH: new smart phone app for consumer requests
Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH) gives consumers the right to ask suppliers about substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in their products. A candidate list of these substances is kept, and new substances are routinely added to this list.
If a product contains one of the substances on the list in a concentration of more than 0.1% weight by weight, the supplier is required to provide the consumer, upon request, with sufficient information to enable safe use of the product, if that information is available to the supplier. However, the relevant provision of the REACH Regulation states that the supplier of the product has 45 days to respond to this request.
This is where the "Scan4Chem" smart phone app comes in, which was developed as part of the EU's "AskREACH" project. It allows users to scan product bar codes and then send a request to the product's supplier. This feature was available in an earlier version of the app as well. However, the app now also allows users to access information about SVHCs from a new European "AskREACH database," in which suppliers can enter information about their products.
If an entry exists for the product in question, consumers will be able to see right away whether the product contains SVHCs and if so which so that they don't need to wait 45 days for the information to be provided to them. Companies which enter information into the database will be spared the trouble of processing each request manually. Those interested can register here and enter information about their products into the database. The German (but English-language) app, from the German Environment Agency, has been available for download free of charge from the app store since the start of November and there are plans to make it available in many other EU member states as well.
Publication of the app illustrates an effort to draw consumers' attention to the REACH Regulation. Raising the awareness of the general public will indirectly exert pressure on companies to ensure that their products do not contain substances on the candidate list.