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Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has signaled its intention to align its chemical restriction ordinance with the European Union’s (EU) Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations.

Circulated in a notification by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 1, 2019, the proposal would revise Switzerland’s Ordinance on the Reduction of Risks Relating to the Use of Certain Particularly Dangerous Substances, Preparations and Articles (Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance, ORRChem) to make it align with many of the recently adopted restrictions in Annex XVII of REACH.

The proposal includes various restrictions, including:

  • Four phthalates – less than 0.1% in plasticized materials of an article (Annex 1.18, Art. 3):
    1. Benzylbutyl phthalate (BBP)
    2. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
    3. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
    4. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
  • Decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE) – prohibited in articles or parts thereof unless its presence is an unavoidable impurity (Annex 1.9, Art. 3)
  • Methanol – no more than 0.6% in windscreen washing or deicing fluids (Annex 2.3, Art. 3)
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) – no more than 0.01% in textile articles that can be cleaned with water (Annex 1.8, Art. 3)
  • Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) or decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) – no more than 0.1% in rinse-off cosmetics (Annex 2.2, Art. 3)
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and related substances

Stakeholders should be aware the requirement for Deca-BDE differs slightly from the comparable restriction in REACH. Under REACH, there is no exemption for unavoidable impurities.

The document also signals Switzerland’s intention to amend its existing legislation on fluorinated greenhouse gases to fulfill the requirements of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs).

The proposal was circulated in WTO document number 19-2977 on May 1, 2019. It was proposed to come into force on June 1, 2019, with a staggered implementation beginning on December 1, 2019 and continuing until June 1, 2024.

Stakeholders are now advised to check their products comply with the latest Swiss requirements relating to hazardous chemicals.

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