The REACH Regulation (Article 3(3)) of defines an article as “an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than its chemical composition”. In order to determine whether or not an object fulfils the definition of an article under REACH, the object’s function and its characteristics need to be assessed.
• The function of an object
The term “function” in the article definition should be interpreted as meaning the basic principle determining the use of the object rather than the degree of technical sophistication determining the quality of the result. In this sense, it may be helpful to look at the result of using an object and pay less attention to the quality of the result.
• For example, the basic principle behind a printer cartridge is to bring ink onto paper. A higher degree of technical sophistication of the object “printer cartridge” may improve the functioning and the quality of the result but it does not change the function as such.
• The shape, surface and design of an object The shape, surface and design of an object represent its physical appearance and can be understood as other than chemical characteristics. Shape means the three-dimensional form of an object, like depth, width and height.
•Surface means the outermost layer of an object.
•Design means the arrangement of the “elements of design” in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.
How to decide whether an object is an article or not?
• A wax crayon consists of paraffin wax and pigments and is used for colouring and drawing on paper. As its shape/surface/design are not more relevant for the function of the crayon (to bring pigment to paper) than its chemical composition, it is to be regarded as a mixture.
• The basic principle behind a printer cartridge is to bring ink onto paper. if the toner/ink was moved from the cartridge, it would still be possible to bring it to paper, although with a loss of quality and convenience; Secondly, the function of the cartridge is to hold the toner/ink in place inside a printer and it controls the speed and mode of release; this makes the conclusion that a printer cartridge is an article (functioning as container) containing a substance/mixture.
• The main function of the thermometer is to show the temperature and not to deliver a chemical substance that it holds. If the substance or mixture contained in it is removed, the empty thermometer would fail to show the temperature; thus the object would no longer be useful. Further, the thermometer is normally disposed of together with its chemical content. So these facts lead to the conclusion that a thermometer is an article and the liquid within an integral part of it.
Examples of Articles:
Toys and child care products, textile/apparels, leather products, plastic products, electrical and electronic goods, stationery items, handicraft goods, auto components, etc.