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All you need to know about SVHCs

When it comes to purchasing chemical consumables within the United Kingdom and European Union, it is important to be aware of SVHCs, and the impact they can have on your supply chain.

What is an SVHC?

SVHC stands for Substance of Very High Concern. Substances may be identified as SVHC’s when they meet the following criteria:

  • Class 1 or 2 carcinogen, mutagen, or toxic for reproduction (CMR) category 1 or 2 
  • Substance which is PBT (persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic)  
  • Substance which is vPvB (very persistent and very bio-accumulative) 
  • Substances giving rise to an equivalent level of concern to substances meeting the above criteria. Such substances may have endocrine disrupting properties or have properties, that although not meeting the criteria for being a CMR, PBT or vPvB, there is scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment. Such substances will be identified on a case-by-case basis. 

Under REACH Regulations covering the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK), there is an authorisation requirement to ensure that the risks from SVHCs are properly controlled and that those substances are progressively replaced by suitable alternative substances or technologies.

How do I identify an SVHC?

Any substance identified as an SVHC will be on one of two different lists – the Candidate List or the Annex XIV List.

What is the Candidate List?

The Candidate List is a list of substances that have been identified as SVHCs. While no immediate restrictions are placed on the use of this substance, obligations are put onto the supplier of the substance.

What is the Annex XIV List?

After review by the European Commission/HSE a substance may be placed onto the Annex XIV List. This means that it cannot be placed on the market for a use or used after a given date (the so-called 'sunset date') unless the companies concerned are granted an authorisation for the specific use(s).

What is a Sunset Date?

Due to the implications of banning substances, the European Commission/HSE provide a grace period to allow all interested parties time to either change their formulation, source an alternative product, or apply for an authorisation. The sunset date is the date after which the substance is banned, except for those uses covered in an application for authorisation (AfA).

Does this regulation apply to everyone?

This regulation only applies to countries within the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), Northern Ireland (NI), and Great Britain (GB) (England, Scotland and Wales).  Any company within these regions will need to abide by this regulation, even if the products are freely available in other regions.

How do I know if a product contains an SVHC?

Silmid has an obligation to notify all downstream users if a product they are purchasing contains an SVHC. This will be communicated via a safety data sheet (SDS) as well as the product detail page for products containing SVHC’s listed on Annex XIV.

What happens if I want to purchase a product that has been granted authorisation for as specific use?

If you want to purchase an authorised product that contains an SVHC included on Annex XIV, you are still able to do so. However, you will be asked to confirm your understanding of the following:
  • Authorised application(s) and limitations of use for the products being purchased;
  • Registration of the use or application of these products with ECHA/HSE
  • Flow down of these requirements to all downstream users and re-sellers of the products where applicable. 

Further Reading

Silmid REACH Policy

Ordering Products That Contain SVHCs