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Electronics Production | July 29, 2008

IPC: Electronics industry not ready for REACH

The results of IPC’s recent survey on REACH Preparedness in the North American and European Interconnect Industry reveals that more than 40 percent of manufacturing and purchasing personnel have no understanding of the REACH regulation as it affects their companies.
The same holds true for nearly one-third of senior management and 29 percent of engineering personnel. Even 28 percent of environment, health and safety personnel have no understanding of REACH’s impact.

The new European Union (EU) legislation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) took effect on June 1, 2007. The REACH regulation gives greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances.

In contrast to RoHS, which covers a narrow scope of substances in electronic products encompassing about 100 different chemicals, REACH covers substances in nearly all applications, totaling about 30,000 unique chemicals. While RoHS can address entire classes of substances at a time, REACH addresses them each individually. Where RoHS requires supplier-to-customer communications, the REACH regulation makes bidirectional communication throughout the supply chain imperative.
“REACH will have a far-reaching effect on any company that buys sells or uses chemicals,” said Tony Hilvers, vice president of industry programs for IPC. “Inevitably, all companies that use chemicals or make products that contain chemicals will be affected …and that pretty much sums up the entire electronics supply chain. The survey clearly indicates that our industry is woefully unprepared for the hit it’s about to take.”

The electronic survey, sent to executives throughout the electronic interconnect supply chain in North America and Europe, reveals that even with a deadline for pre-registration of substances quickly approaching, only 18.3 percent of companies have identified and/or inventoried all substances in their products. In addition only 60.5 percent of chemical supplier respondents are planning to register or pre-register substances at all.

A full report on the results of IPC’s REACH preparedness survey is available on IPC’s website at www.ipc.org/REACHsurveyreport.

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