On 23th April, 2015 the European Commission (EC) has published Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/628, amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH) as regards lead and its compounds.

In more detail, those articles or accessible parts thereof in which the lead content is equal to or greater than 0.05% by weight shall not be placed on the market. The restriction is applicable to articles that may, during normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, be placed in the mouth by children.

That limit shall not apply where it can be demonstrated that the rate of lead release from such an article or any such accessible part of an article, whether coated or uncoated, does not exceed 0.05 μg/cm2 per hour (equivalent to 0.05 μg/g/h), and, for coated articles, that the coating is sufficient to ensure that this release rate is not exceeded for a period of at least two years of normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use of the article.

On the basis of field of application reported in the Regulation and such examples reported in the ECHA document “Draft Guideline on the scope of the upcoming amendment of Entry 63 of Annex XVII to REACH” below it is reported the list of examples of items within and excluded from the scope of restriction.

Examples of articles within the scope of Restriction:

  • Clothing categories, footwear and accessories (including metal or plastic details such as buttons, zippers or other fastenings);
  • Childcare articles;
  • Stationery (the tips of pens are not included by considering that there is a very low potential for exposure);
  • Interior decoration items (such as statuettes or artificial flowers) etc…

Examples of articles excluded from the scope of restriction:

  • Articles for which there aren’t suitable alternatives for the use of lead (such as musical instruments, keys and locks);
  • Articles covered by other Directives or other Restrictions (such as toys, electrical and electronic articles, jewellery, articles intended to come in contact with food and packaging materials).

By way of derogation the restriction shall not apply to articles placed on the market for the first time before 1st June 2016.