The ECHA Opens up the SCIP Database to the Public
The SCIP is the database for information on Substances of Concern In articles as such or in complex objects (Products), established under the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 98/2008/CE – WFD). The obligation raises from article 9.2 by which the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has established the SCIP database by 5 January 2020.
As from 5 January 2021, Companies supplying articles containing substances of very high concern (SVHCs) on the Candidate List in a concentration above 0.1% weight by weight (w/w) on the EU market must submit information on these articles to ECHA. The obligation is very similar to that of REACH article 33 (information of the supply chain about SVCH in an article in a concentration above 0.1%). However, the two obligations are independent and do not exclude each other.
The SCIP notification obligation under the Waste Framework Directive is aimed to ‘ensure that the information about the presence of SVHCs is available throughout the whole life cycle of products and materials, including at the waste stage’. Pay attention that the waste is not considered nor substance nor mixture nor article under REACH. Therefore, waste does not have a Safety Data Sheet or an informative letter pursuant to article 33. Briefly, the informative chain breaks when a product becomes a waste.
On the other hand, the aim of Article 33 is to ensure that sufficient information is communicated down the supply chain to allow the safe use of articles by actors in the supply chain, professional and industrial end-users and consumers. The information, flowing along the supply chain, enables all operators to take, at their stage of the use of the article, the appropriate risk management measures to guarantee the safe use of articles containing Candidate List substances. Therefore, Companies are required to comply with their communication obligation under REACH article 33 and with the SCIP database introduced by WFD.
Despite the intent, the same vulnerability persists in SCIP: if no information is available (and this is the pretty common case of importers) an analytical investigation should be performed. However, at the moment, no standardized method is published by OECD: laboratories have to put in place their own method and, usually, different methods lead to different results. Moreover, the judgment C‑106/14 of the European Court, issued on 10 September 2015, decreed the concept that once an article has been created, it always remains an article. More specifically, the REACH Regulation does not define a “complex article” as an article containing several articles. Therefore, a distinction should not be made between a complex article and a non-complex article. From this, it follows that the qualification as an article is applicable to any object.
Therefore, it is evident that this position heavily affects the management of complex items as the calculation of the 0.1% percentage: it must be carried out on the weight of the single assembled piece and not on the weight of the entire complex article, for example, placed on the market.