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An Overview of 'Reach'

To help dispel any mis-understandings on REACH compliancy and how it affects reloading powders we have produced the following clarification.

REACH compliancy (EU Regulation (EC) no. 1907/2006) is the regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It entered into force on 1st June 2006 and contains several deadlines which will be progressively implemented until 1st June 2018 when all aspects of the regulation will be fully enforced. As it is an EU regulation it is therefore national law in all EU countries.

REACH compliancy is being implemented to place greater responsibility on manufacturers and industry selling relevant products in the EU to reduce the risks certain chemicals pose to public health and the environment. It ensures that substances of high concern are replaced by less dangerous substances. Unfortunately, this legislation covers certain chemicals used in the production and blending of reloading powders.

Implementation timescales & Future Usage There are many staggered and staged implementation dates and deadlines that cover the whole of REACH compliancy. The date that directly affects reloading powders is 1st June 2018. Therefore, after that date, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to manufacture or ship non-compliant raw materials or finished products that contain banned chemicals in or to any EU Country.

As of going to press, the UK government has indicated that REACH compliancy will still be adopted & fully implemented regardless of Brexit.

As we understand it, you will still be able to hold and use up existing stock that is either held by a retailer or domestically at home but no new non-compliant stock will be available after 1st June 2018.

However, due to historic extended lead-times for ordering and delivery of north American branded reloading powders to the UK, some distributors of certain brands have already run out of affected powders that will never be re-stocked, two of the more popular ones are Hodgdon Varget & Hodgdon H4350. However, BE PREPARED, it is anticipated that this list will grow quickly as time passes and general awareness increases. For those of us already using a European branded powder such as RS Swiss or Vihtavuori etc don’t panic as those are already REACH compliant so carry on as normal.

As powders are withdrawn, we anticipate that the implicated manufacturer will re-blend a REACH compliant alternative, especially the popular ones. However, certain slow-selling products in Europe will not be replaced as it’s not commercially viable to re-blend a new product for low sales volumes. Although these new powders will have similar properties to those they replace, they will need new load development testing and will not be an exact like-for-like load data swop I.E. 38.9 grains of Varget for 38.9 grains of the new alternative.

In short, we have until the 1st June 2018 to stock up on our favourite Hodgdon and IMR powders (if they are still available), after that, it’s then back to the drawing board & start load testing again!

Feel free to call the shop on 01458 253700 for further clarification, stock availability and updates.  

Author: Mark Tutton. Last Updated 14.09.2017