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SVHC under REACH

Substances of very high concern are substances which have at least one of the hazardous properties mentioned in REACH Article 57.

Substances of very high concern should be phased out and substituted with high priority. They can cause serious and irreversible damage to human health and the environment and the most effective risk management measure is the cease of their use. This goal is not only part of the REACH regulation but also enhanced under workers protection, environmental and product safety legislation.

Whenever an SVHC is identified in an article, your first action should be to check whether or not substitution with less hazardous alternatives is possible.

Only if there is no substitution option, you should proceed and identify which information to communicate in order to minimise risk from their use in articles. You should regularly check the substitution options because new alternatives may become available over time.

Substances of very high concern may be subjected to the authorization procedure under REACH and it is an explicit goal to eventually phase out their use.

The SVHC properties are:

  1. carcinogenicity category 1A or 1B
  2. germ cell mutagenicity category 1A or 1B
  3. reproductive toxicity category 1A or 1B, adverse effects on sexual function and fertility or on development
  4. substances which are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic in accordance with the criteria set out in Annex XIII of REACH
  5. substances which are very persistent and very bioaccumulative in accordance with the criteria set out in Annex XIII of REACH;
  6. substances — such as those having endocrine disrupting properties or those having persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic properties or very persistent and very bioaccumulative properties, which do not fulfil the criteria of points (d) or (e) — for which there is scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment which give rise to an equivalent level of concern to those of other substances listed in points (a) to (e) and which are identified on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 59.

If these substances are identified as SVHC in a formal process, they are included in the candidate list for authorization. Once a substance is included in the candidate list, the communication requirement under Article 33 applies immediately for this substance.