Update about REACH (information published by ECHA on 6th February 2020)
ECHA recently issued a list of substances which will be banned from use long term. Some confusion seems to exist regarding two of the substance groups mentioned: sodium perborate; perboric acid, sodium salt and sodium peroxometaborate. These are not the substances boric acid and disodium tetraborate, anhydrous (Borax) which are currently still used in some wick chemical treatments and which remain on the SVHC list (substances of very high concern).
The latest ECHA publication therefore has no immediate relevance for candle manufacturers. You can continue to order and use all wicks as in the past.
Nevertheless, it seems that after many years, ECHA is now moving forward in introducing bans on certain substances and we believe that it is only a matter of time before a ban is placed on boric acid and disodium tetraborate, anhydrous as well. The latest ECHA list from 6th February 2020 gives us a good idea of the possible time scale as it may be applied in future, as it stipulates so called „Sunset Dates“ – for example 27th May 2023. After that date companies would no longer be permitted to sell components containing the substances in question.
If boric acid and disodium tetraborate, anhydrous are indeed subject to a ban in future, several years will most probably pass before the ban takes effect (i.e. after the Sunset Date). We should however start taking action now.
ECHA added boric acid and disodium tetraborate, anhydrous to the SVHC list on 1 July 2015. By that time WEDO had already begun formulating alternative wick chemical treatments. Today WEDO has wick alternatives for all candle applications (types, materials etc) free of these substances.
In the coming weeks we will be contacting our customers to inform them which of the wicks they take from us still contain boric acid and disodium tetraborate, anhydrous. We will then arrange for alternative wick samples depending on the types of candles in question. As soon as you have completed verification testing, we can begin the change-over to the alternative wicks.
How long candle manufacturers would still be able to sell candles with wicks containing boric acid and disodium tetraborate, anhydrous after any sunset date – or how long retailers would be permitted to have such candles on their shelves is not yet clear from the wording of the REACH regulations. However as we envisage wick sampling and testing to be completed within the next few months, this may not be relevant.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.
Helmut Gutberlet, Dirk Kornfeld, Stefan Bauer & Steven West