New REACH restrictions – diisocyanates and tattoo inks

February 14, 2022

A new restriction on the use of diisocyanates under EU REACH (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006) will apply from 24 February 2022. A restriction relating to the composition of tattoo inks was introduced in January. What are the new restrictions and what are the consequences for businesses? Read on to learn more.

Restriction is a direct and unambiguous means of controlling the risks associated with hazardous substances. Under REACH, a substance on its own, in a mixture or in an article, which has been restricted must not be manufactured, imported, supplied or used unless it complies with the conditions of that restriction. Annex XVII of REACH contains a list of substances that have been restricted under REACH and the conditions of those restrictions.


Diisocyanates are used to make polyurethane products, such as rigid and flexible foams, coatings, adhesives and sealants, and are often used in vehicle paint. They are classified as respiratory sensitisers, meaning they can cause asthma. From 24 February 2022, diisocyanates can no longer be imported or supplied in the EU on their own or in mixtures for industrial and professional use, in concentrations above 0.1% by weight. There is an important exception to the restriction whereby suppliers will be permitted to continue supplying diisocyanates if they provide recipients with information on mandatory training requirements that will apply to users from August 2023 and include specific wording on the label accordingly. This restriction also applies in Great Britain under UK REACH.

Tattoo inks and permanent make-up

Effective 4 January 2022, thousands of chemicals can no longer be supplied or used for tattoo inks and permanent make-up across the European Union (EU). The restriction covers chemicals that cause cancer or genetic mutations or those which are toxic to reproduction, as well as skin sensitisers and skin irritants. The restriction also introduces new labelling requirements for products placed on the market for tattooing purposes. This restriction does not yet apply in Great Britain under UK REACH, although it is on the Health & Safety Executive’s registry of restriction intentions.

Businesses not meeting the conditions of the above two restrictions will find themselves non-compliant with REACH. While penalties vary from country to country, breaches of REACH restriction will usually result in enforcement action such as the issuing of enforcement notices, fines or even prosecution, often attracting negative media attention and resulting in the loss of customers.

TSG Consulting can help

TSG Consulting’s experts with background in regulatory compliance and enforcement are available to help you understand and navigate the regulatory landscape for REACH restrictions. We can help you:

  • Perform due diligence to ensure your company is meeting the conditions of these restrictions
  • Identify whether your company is using any other restricted substances and advise whether or not the conditions of any applicable restriction are being met
  • Create and implement robust management systems/arrangements to ensure you stay compliant, now and in the future
  • Map and manage concerns through your supply chain, from supplier to customer
  • Respond to interventions from enforcing authorities, including inspections, investigations and enforcement action

If you’d like to have an informal chat with our team, please get in touch at [email protected]

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