[Alt-photo] Dichromates, REACH and the EU

John Brewer johnbrewerphotography at gmail.com
Sat Sep 17 16:05:25 UTC 2016

Hello dichromate users

I wrote to the UK Health and Safety Executive a while ago and received the reply below. As a tutor, practitioner and supplier of some alt process chemistry I can buy dichromates without filling out the crazy form as it can be used for 'research and development'. Note that doesn't mean I can supply. I forwarded this email to my supplier who deals directly with Sigma and they have no problem selling it to me provided it's in small quantities. I'm not sure if this will apply to individuals but it's worth quoting the information below to your supplier. 

I hope the email below helps some of you European dichromate users. 

Best wishes


Dear John,
As you note, potassium chromate is listed in Annex XIV of REACH and is therefore subject to authorisation. The sunset date for potassium dichromate is 21 September 2017. After this date, it will not be permitted for a company (including self-employed individuals) to use the substance in the EU, or place the substance on the market for a use, unless they have authorisation from the European Commission. It is technically challenging and expensive to apply for authorisation.  
The ideal option beyond the sunset date would be to use a viable, safer alternative to potassium dichromate. Perhaps this has already been addressed in your industry? It may be worth talking to other painters and/or a relevant trade association to find out if others have already considered this issue and the approach they are taking.
Alternatively, especially as you use such a low volume, you might consider whether any of the exemptions from authorisation might apply here. They can be found in our bitesize leaflet on authorisation (leaflet number 19 at:  http://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/bitesize.htm). For example, Article 56(3) is clear that authorisation does not apply to the use of substances for scientific research and development (SRD).
You mention that you are a tutor. It is possible that your use of the substance (as a tutor) could be considered as SRD. SRD is a defined term in REACH [Article 3(23)] as “scientific research and development: means any scientific experimentation, analysis or chemical research carried out under controlled conditions in a volume less than 1 tonne per year”.
·         As well as covering chemical research, it also applies to scientific experimentation or analysis;

·         The definition includes an ‘or’ and an ‘any’ so logically, the ‘any’ applies to all three terms in the list; i.e., any scientific experimentation, any analysis, and any chemical research;

However, it would be for you (and others who use chromium compounds in a similar way) to decide whether your use meets any of the exemptions. Should you decide to continue to use the substance after the sunset date, we would recommend that you document any decisions made in case you are ever challenged by a Regulatory Authority.
Authorisation can be applied for by the user of the chemical or by the EU-based supplier on behalf of the people they supply to. Therefore, if you decide that the criteria for exemption are not met (i.e. that authorisation is required), the next step you take will be determined by where your supplier is based. If your supplier is based in the EU, we would recommend that you contact your supplier to find out whether the supplier has applied for authorisation, and whether you can benefit from this.
If you source the substance directly from outside the EU, the duty to apply for authorisation would fall to you. However, we appreciate that this may be an unrealistic task. Please don’t hesitate to get back in touch with the helpdesk should you wish to discuss this further.
I hope this helps.
Kind regards,
Laura McCabe
REACH & CLP Helpdesk
Chemicals Regulation Division
HSE, Redgrave Court, Bootle, Merseyside L20 7HS

Sent from my iPad

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