Basic legal sources

1. Key points

Based on the type and concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), tar pitch and tar oils such as anthracene oil meet the criteria specified in Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH Regulation) for persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) or very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substances. The provisions of Annex 1.15 are designed to keep off the market tar-containing products in applications where use and/or disposal leads to environmental releases of PAH.

2. Prohibitions

It is prohibited to place on the market the following tar-containing preparations if they contain more than 100 mg PAH per kilogram (overall limit for EPA PAH):

  • products for surface dressing of paved surfaces, e.g. tar emulsions used as oil- and petrol‑resistant pavement coatings for petrol stations, parking areas, handling areas, works yards or airports;
  • joint sealants for paved surfaces, e.g. for fuel handling areas or for open or covered parking areas at airports;
  • paints and varnishes, e.g. used as protective coatings for concrete and steel (e.g. pressure pipelines).

It is also prohibited:

  • to place on the market tar-containing clay pigeons that contain more than 30 mg PAH per kilogram;
  • to manufacture surfacings, such as foundation, base, binder and surface courses, using tar‑containing binders, if the latter contain more than 100 mg PAH per kilogram.

3. Exemptions

  • The prohibitions do not apply in cases where an authorisation has been granted for a specific use by the European Commission in accordance with Article 60 Paragraph 1 of the REACH Regulation.
  • On receipt of a justified request, the FOEN may grant further (possibly temporary) exemptions from the prohibitions for tar-containing preparations and binders if no substitutes are currently available, no more tars are used than are essential for the purpose in question, and risks to human health and the environment are adequately limited.

4. Notes

  • Tars are complex mixtures produced by thermal decomposition of organic natural substances, notably coal tar, or the products obtained from further processing, such as tar oils and tar pitch. In these processes, PAH are formed. The limit specified is based on the content of 16 PAH included in a list published by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA). For this reason, they are known as EPA PAH.
  • The provisions of the Annex are not applicable to tar-containing binders that end up in new surfacings as a result of the recycling of tar-containing road construction materials in the manufacture of surfacings.

Last modification 07.09.2023

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