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K-REACH Safety and Labelling Standards for Chemical Consumer Products

By Little Pro on 2015-12-31 Views:  Update:2017-01-18

K-REACH not only regulates chemical substances but also regulates chemical consumer products. Product containing hazardous chemical substances may require notification while product of risk concern needs to comply with additional safety and labelling standards. The picture below is an overview of product management under K-REACH.

chemical consumer product and K-REACH

In April 2015, the Ministry of Environment (MoE) in South Korea issued its Notice No. 2015-41 setting safety and labelling standards for 8 types of products designated as products of risk concern: cleaning agents, synthetic detergents, bleaching agents, fabric softeners, coatings, adhesives (including glues), fragrances, and deodorants. Manufacturers and importers of those household chemicals are required to comply with the new standards from 1 Oct 2015.

In this article, we will help you understand how those safety and labelling standards work and how to comply with them. We will also talk about other K-REACH requirements for chemical consumer products in Korea.

Definitions of Product and Product of Risk Concern

Under K-REACH, a product is defined a mixture or an article used by an end user or a component of the mixture or the article that may expose consumers to chemical substances. It mainly refers to chemical products for consumer use. A big majority of articles (for example, electronics) do not contain substances intended to be released, do not directly cause consumer exposure and thus cannot be regarded as "product" under K-REACH.

Product of risk concern means any of chemical products announced by the Minister of Environment (MoE) as products that are likely to cause risk to human health or the environment. When products of risk concern are announced, their safety and labelling standards will also be published. The first list of announced products of risk concern includes 8 types of products: cleaning agents, synthetic detergents, bleaching agents, fabric softeners, coatings, adhesives, fragrances, and deodorants.

K-REACH Safety and Labelling Standards: How They Work

The safety and labelling standards for each product type usually consist of 4 parts:

  • Restriction: Which hazardous substances are restricted in final product and their concentration limits;
  • Ban: Which ingredients are banned;
  • Labelling: Which content needs to be labelled;
  • Packaging: When child protection packages will be needed;

The table below is an example of how the MOE Notice No. 2015-41 sets the safety and labeling standards for cleaning agents for consumer use.

Cleaning agents

Chemicals used for cleaning oven, stove hood, bathroom, plates, carpets, building floor, shoes, furniture, automotive, air conditioners, musical instrument, mildew remover, stain remover, etc.

Restriction
  • Tetrachloroethylene: < 1,000mg/kg
  • Trichlorethylene: < 1,000mg/kg
  • Formaldehyde: < 40mg/kg
  • Acetaldehyde: <70mg/kg
  • Naphthalene: <30mg/kg
  • Benzene: < 30mg/kg
  • Arsenic: <1mg/kg
  • Nickel: <1mg/kg
  • Hydrochloric acid: <10%
  • Sulfuric acid: <10%
  • Sodium hydroxide: < 5%
  • Potassium hydroxide: <5%
Ban
  • Polyhexamethylene guanidine (PHMG): Banned in spray type;
  • Ethoxyethyl guanidine (PGH) chloride: Banned in spray type;
  • Poly(hexamethylene biguanide) hydrochloride (PHMB): Banned in spray type;
  • Vinyl chloride;
  • Dichloromethane and mixtures containing it more than 0.1%;
  • Substances containing more than 0.1% lead and its compounds;
  • Ethyl bromide;
Labelling

General labelling requirements:

  • Product name;
  • Type;
  • Model;
  • Date of production;
  • Producer name;
  • Producer address and phone no. (only if produced in Korea);
  • Import company (only for import);
  • Import company address and phone no. (import only);
  • Ingredients (function);
  • Weight or volume
  • Liquid (if applicable);
  • Standard amount (if applicable)
  • Precautions.

Additional labelling requirements: If a product contains the following substances, it shall be labelled "toxic" along with the name, feature and content of the substances regardless of the content.

  • Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate;
  • Isopropylbenzene;
  • 2-butoxyethanol;
  • Toluene;
  • 3-iodo-2-propynyl butyl carbamate;
Packaging

Child protection package are required for a liquid product containing any one or more of the following substances or powder product containing more than 2% or more sodium hydroxide/potassium hydroxide.

 

  • Sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or hypochlorate 2% w/w or more ;
  • Sulfuric acid 10%w/w or more;
  • Basic oil 10% w/w or more;
  • Mineral oil 10%w/w or more;
  • Methanol 4% w/w or more;
  • Any hydrocarbon or hydrocarbon mixture 10%w/w or more;

 

K-REACH Safety and Labelling Standards: How to Comply?

The MOE Notice No. 2015-41 requires suppliers of chemical consumer products to conduct product testing in qualified labs very three years to verify compliance and keep testing reports for inspections. In addition to that, the Notice has given detailed labelling instructions for each type of chemical consumer product.

Manufacturers and importers of chemical consumer products need to act quickly to determine their compliance status by testing their products against the new safety criteria. Labels must also be reviewed and updated if necessary.

It shall be noted that compliance with the new safety and labelling standards does not mean K-REACH compliance. Chemical consumer products may be subject to more K-REACH requirements such as annual report, registration, product notification and supply chain communication.

K-REACH Annual Report

According to the article 8 of K-REACH, any person who manufactures, imports or sells a new chemical substance or at least one ton per year of an existing chemical substance shall report the uses, quantity, etc. of the chemical substance annually to the MoE.

Most of chemical consumer products are preparations. The quantity and use of one ingredient will need to be reported if it is a new substance or if its volume exceeds 1t/y. It shall be noted that 40 substances (for example, water, carbon dioxide) are exempt from annual reporting.

K-REACH Registration

Any person who intends to manufacture or import a new chemical substance or at least one ton per year of a designated existing chemical substance subject to registration shall register the chemical substance before he/she manufactures or imports. The first batch of 518 existing substances subject to registration (draft version) has already been published.

Suppliers of chemical consumer products shall check their ingredients to determine if any registration is required for any ingredient.

K-REACH Product Notification

A product requires notification only if it meets the following two criteria:

Notification Criteria
  • A product contains a hazardous substance in a concentration above 0.1% w/w; and
  • Total volume of the hazardous substance manufactured/imported exceeds 1t/y.
Required Information
  • Name of hazardous substances;
  • Content;
  • Hazards; and
  • Uses in a product.

 

"Hazardous chemical substance" means any of the published toxic substances, substances subject to permission, restricted substances, and prohibited substances that can be searched on NIER's website. It currently includes thousands of substances.

Provision of Information for Product Containing Hazardous Substances

Any person who transfers a product containing a hazardous chemical substance reported shall prepare and provide information such as the name, uses and conditions of the chemical substance in the product, to a person who acquires the product.

The person who transfers the product is also obligated to provide information on the safe uses of the product upon consumers' request.

Summary

K-REACH compliance for chemical consumer products is not easy. For the 8 types of products of risk concern, compliance with K-REACH safety and labelling standards requires some testing and label review. In the meantime, suppliers of chemical consumer products shall check if other K-REACH obligations including annual report, registration, and product notification apply.

More Info & Reference

MOE Notice No. 2015-41 Designation of Risk-Concerned Product and Safety and Labelling Standards

 

 Tags: Topics - KoreaREACH-like Regulation and Registration

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