Importers of large-volume promotional pens or promotional products of any description containing ink need to be aware of this piece of new legislation. E.E.C Regulation 1907/2006 came into force on 1st June 2008 and the important features for pen importers are to quote… ” Registration is compulsory when the substance in question is normally released when the product is used” which of course for our industry refers to the ink in the refill. Furthermore the regulation applies “when the ink “is present in those products in quantities totaling over 1 tonne per producer or importer per year.”
Now a tonne of ink sounds a lot, but when annual quantities of imported promotional pens are in their millions, more than an average of 0.1g of ink in each pen means the total is easily exceeded. If you think you might need to register, in all probability you won’t need to because there are exemptions to the rules and other conditions that may make registration unnecessary.
Firstly, reputable documental ink makers of any size will have already registered the relevant substances and importers of promotional pens or other promotional items containing documental ink can quote the registration details of their supplier. Secondly, if the refills are exported and re-imported as part of a Promotional Pen, this too is exempt provided that the original re-fill supplier already has its component raw materials registered for REACH. Finally, there are specific exemptions which means there is no requirement to register the majority of ingredients contained in documental inks.
This is where it gets complicated, documental inks are not single substances, they are a complex mixture of pigments, resins, solvents and additives. The definition of a substance that needs registering within the legislation is ” A chemical element and it’s compounds in the natural state. excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition” Now, since a major component of the ink is solvent, this is excluded. Also, so are polymers, and since the other major component of an ink is a resin, (which in turn is a polymer) then these too are exempted. That leaves the additives, and some of these could also be exempted on the basis that ” the estimated risk is negligible” e.g water which is used in inks for Fountain Pens..
So, on balance for more than 80% of the weight of the ink, the chemicals do not fall within the scope of REACH. In the unlikely event that an importer is buying in tens of millions of Pens, and not getting the inks from an already REACH Registered supplier, to calculate whether or not the substance needs registering for REACH, the importer will need the exact formulation of the ink, which of course is the intellectual property of the owner and closely guarded, and is likely to be refused.
So, in a nutshell, nothing to worry about for small importers of promotional pens, promotional items or business gifts containing documental and even large ones if the imported pens contain inks produced by a REACH Registered supplier. If you are a major importer buying in millions of pens and don’t have these safeguards in place, watch out. The enforcement agency is the Health and Safety Executive.
The Pen Warehouse is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of promotional pens and is based in the South East of England. The company prints all promotional pens and pencils in-house and orders can be turned around, printed with your corporate details in twenty four hours.