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Terminology for REACH and restricted substances

Helping to clarify the wording used in the European REACH chemical legislation.

by Martin Heels

The European Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) legislation (Regulation 1907/2006) uses specific terminology that may need clarification for those who are not experts in this area of production. SATRA can provide training to personnel within member companies in order to make their individual legal obligations under REACH easier to understand. As part of this training, we are pleased to provide the following glossary to define some of the key terms that surround REACH, which can act as a guide when these phrases are encountered.

Terms used in the legislation

Actors in the supply chain: All manufacturers and/or importers and/or downstream users in a supply chain.

Annex XIV/Authorisation List: List of substances subjected to the ‘authorisation’ procedure in REACH and, therefore, assigned sunset dates.

Annex XVII: A list of all substances restricted under REACH and the conditions of their restrictions.

Article: An object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition.

Candidate List: A list of all substances of very high concern (SVHCs) to be evaluated for potential inclusion in Annex XIV.

CMR: Carcinogenic (causes cancer), mutagenic (causes damage to genes) or toxic to reproduction (can either decrease fertility or cause problems with development of the foetus).

Competent authority: The authority or authorities or bodies established by the Member States to administer and enforce the obligations arising from this regulation.

Downstream users: Users of a chemical (a substance) – either on its own or in a mixture – in the course of their industrial or professional activities.

ECHA: European Chemicals Agency, the body created to administer and co-ordinate REACH activity across the EU/EEA.

EEA: European Economic Area (all EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

Importers: Those who buy chemicals or articles from outside the EEA. The importer will have the same responsibility as a manufacturer for chemicals or articles manufactured outside of the EEA.

Manufacturers: Those who make substances.

Notification: The submission of specific information on substances in articles, the use(s) of the substances in the article and users of the article.

PBTs: Substances that are persistent in the environment, bio-accumulative or toxic.

Preparation: A mixture or solution composed of two or more substances.

Producers: Those who make or manufacture articles within the EU/EEA.

REACH: Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals – a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals.

Registration: The submission of specific information about chemicals to ECHA and applies to individual substances and substances in preparations.

Restriction: Any condition for or prohibition of the manufacture, use or placing on the market.

Substance: A chemical element and its compounds in the natural state or obtained by any manufacturing process.

Sunset date: The date from which the placing on the market or the use of the substance shall be prohibited unless an exemption is granted.

Suppliers of articles: Producers or importers of an article, distributors or other actors in the supply chain placing an article on the market.

SVHC: Substances of very high concern: substances that are CMRs, PBTs, vPvBs or other substances which give rise to equivalent levels of concern.

TPA: Tonnes per annum.

vPvBs: Substances that are very persistent in the environment or very bio-accumulative.

Terms used in restricted substances and analytical chemistry

APE/APEO: Alkyl phenol ethoxylate (‘family’ name for group of wetting agents that can be used in dyeing).

BBP: Benzyl butyl phthalate (a restricted plasticiser).

DBT: Di-butyl-tin (a restricted organotin compound).

DEHP: Di-ethyl-hexyl phthalate (a restricted plasticiser).

DIBP: Di-iso-butyl phthalate (a restricted plasticiser).

DIDP: Di-iso-decyl phthalate (a restricted plasticiser).

DIHP: Di-iso-hexyl phthalate (a plasticiser included in the REACH candidate list).

DINP: Di-iso-nonyl phthalate (a restricted plasticiser).

DMEP: Di-methyl-ethyl phthalate (a plasticiser included in the REACH candidate list).

DMFu: Dimethylfumarate (a restricted biocide).

DOP: Di-octyl phthalate (a restricted plasticiser).


Phthalate plasticisers are often used in PVC compounds. Some of these substances are restricted under the REACH legislation

DOT: Di-octyl tin (a restricted organotin compound).

GC-MS: Gas Chromatograph with Mass Spectrometry (used to detect volatile organic substances).

HP-LC: High Performance Liquid Chromatography (for the detection of non-volatile organic compounds).

ICP-OES: Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (for the detection of metals).

NPE/NPEO: Nonyl phenol ethoxylate (restricted wetting agent that can be used in dyeing).

PAHs: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (atmospheric pollutants that contain fused aromatic rings).

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PAHs may be found in rubbers and plastics

PBB: Polybrominated biphenyls (‘family’ of compounds that have been used as flame retardants, some of which are restricted).

PBDE: Polybrominated diphenylether (restricted ‘family’ of flame retardants).

PCP: Pentachlorophenol (a restricted fungicide).

PFOA/PFOS: Polyfluorooctanoic acid/perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (restricted chemicals historically used in stain or water repellency treatments).

TBT: Tri-butyl-tin (a restricted organotin compound).

TPhT: Tri-phenyl-tin (a restricted organotin compound).

UV-Vis: Ultra-Violet and visible light spectrophotometer (used to detect UV active or coloured compounds such as derivatives of formaldehyde and chromium VI).

VOC: Volatile organic compound (such as acetone, toluene or benzene).

How can we help?

We hope you have found this glossary useful. Please email if you have any questions or require further information on REACH and restricted substances training, consultancy and testing.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 8 of the October 2019 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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