EU – REACH: Restriction of PAHs Extends to Consumer Products

Vol. 803 | December 22, 2014

The European Commission has published the Regulation (EU) No.1272/2013 to amend Entry 50 of Annex XVII to REACH Regulation (EC) No.1907/2006 on the restrictions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The new requirements shall apply from 27 December 2015.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are organic compounds containing two or more fused aromatic rings.  Most PAHs in the environment are from incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials like oil, wood, garbage or coal, and can be found in coal, oil and gasoline. 

In processed articles, PAHs may exist in creosote, medicines, dyes, plastics, rubbers, pesticides, lubricants, release agents, capacitance electrolytes, mineral oil, pitch, insecticides, bactericides, mosquito-repellent incense, cigarettes and petrol antifreeze, as the raw materials are coal, crude oil and tar. 

Based on current research, many PAHs are considered carcinogenic and thought to cause reproduction toxicity for humans with exposure to contact with skin and respiratory system. 

The new restriction extends to rubber and plastic components of an article that comes into direct as well as prolonged or short-term repetitive contact with the human skin or the oral cavity under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use.

New requirements for restriction of PAH are as follows:   

ArticleLimit of PAH
  • Toys (including activity toys) 
  • Child care articles 
0.5 mg/kg each 
All other articles supplied to the general public, for example: 
  • Sports equipment such as bicycles, golf clubs, racquets
  • Household utensils, trolleys, walking frames 
  • Tools for domestic use 
  • Clothing, footwear, gloves and sportswear 
  • Watch-straps, wrist-bands, masks, head-bands 
1.0 mg/kg each 


Polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) concerned:

(1)   Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) (CAS No 50-32-8)

(2)   Benzo[e]pyrene (BeP) (CAS No 192-97-2)

(3)   Benzo[a]anthracene (BaA) (CAS No 56-55-3)

(4)   Chrysen (CHR) (CAS No 218-01-9)

(5)   Benzo[b]fluoranthene (BbFA) (CAS No 205-99-2)

(6)   Benzo[j]fluoranthene (BjFA) (CAS No 205-82-3)

(7)   Benzo[k]fluoranthene (BkFA) (CAS No 207-08-9)

(8)   Dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (DBAhA) (CAS No 53-70-3)




Should you have any questions about REACH restrictions for PAHs, please do not hesitate to contact:

Mr. Isaac Lam


Ms Kathy Lee


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