Changes to Safety Data Sheets language requirements for export under REACH

Recently, I was asked by a US based company exporting products to a number of EU countries if they needed to supply their product compliance documentation such as Safety Data Sheets (SDS) in the language of each country they were exporting to. Their European SDS’s comply with the EU DSD and DPD and they have always provided them in English only until now. However, with the introduction of REACH, this has completely changed. The Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is an EU initiative to improve the protection of human health and the environment through better identification of the properties of chemical substances.

The most significant impact of REACH is to mandate chemical manufacturers and importers to determine the hazardous properties through testing of thousands of older industrial chemicals. Article 31(5) of REACH specifies that “The safety data sheet shall be supplied in an official language of the Member State(s) where the substance or preparation is placed on the market, unless the Member State(s) concerned provide otherwise.” It is then for you to enquire on the official language(s) spoken in each of the country you are exporting to.