Resources

FAQs

What sectors in Europe use lead? How can I find out what lead is used for?

Lead is used in solar and wind energy, specialist electronics, machining alloys, cars, radiation shielding, and a myriad of other essential applications in Europe. From renewable energy to healthcare, the wide range of sectors supported by lead are significant contributors to employment creation, sustainable growth, and healthier lives. Over 85% of lead used in the EU – over 1 million tonnes per year – is used to produce lead-based batteries. Visit Charge the Future to find out more about how lead batteries and the European lead battery industry support a low carbon future.

Lead’s unique properties support a wide range of low-carbon technologies which are vital to delivering the European Green Deal’s low-carbon objectives. From providing longevity and reliability to solar panels, to being used as protective sheathing in undersea cables linking wind farms to the grid.

Lead also has a pivotal role in Europe’s circular economy, with unique properties that make it an efficient and effective enabler for the recycling of a wide range of non-ferrous metals.

To find out more about the sectors reliant on lead, please visit Lead Matters. This collaborative campaign showcases the essentiality of lead metal across Europe. Lead Matters demonstrates why lead matters, and its contribution to sustainable economic growth, employment creation and sustainability. 

The Lead Matters microsite also contains a suite of case studies. Each Lead Matters case study has been categorised for ease of use across five key EU priorities and includes an industry factfile that demonstrate lead’s importance to that particular use, and its impact in that sector. The site also hosts a set of key asks around the potential inclusion of lead metal in REACH Annex XIV.

I am a Lead REACH Consortium member, how can I demonstrate the importance of lead to policymakers and regulators?

Please visit Lead Matters. This collaborative campaign showcases the essentiality of lead metal across Europe. Developed by the Lead (Pb) REACH Consortium, it supports over 40 sectors in highlighting the vital, safe and sustainable use of lead in their industries.

Each Lead Matters case study has been categorised for ease of use across five key EU priorities and includes an industry factfile that demonstrate lead’s importance to that particular use, and its impact in that sector. The site also hosts a set of key asks around the potential inclusion of lead metal in REACH Annex XIV – all of which can be used to structure relevant advocacy discussions.

I am not a Lead REACH Consortium member, but I’m interested in lead, how do I find out more?

Lead Matters is a collaborative campaign which showcases the essentiality of lead. Developed by the Lead (Pb) REACH Consortium (PbRC), a voluntary initiative managed by the International Lead Association (ILA), it supports over 40 sectors in highlighting the vital, safe and sustainable use of lead in their industries.

For example, lead is used in hospitals in radiation shielding and as little as a few millimetres of lead can completely block the passage of harmful radiation, and there are also more than 20 essential uses of lead in the aeronautics industries. Visit Lead Matters to find out more.

REACH is a European Union Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals. It came into force in 2007 and replaced a number of European Directives and Regulations with a single system. Lead and lead compounds are subject to the provisions of REACH and the Lead REACH Consortium (PbRC) was established to help companies meet their obligations under this Regulation.

As well as its day to day role in supporting these entities in meeting their obligations under REACH, the PbRC also coordinates a specialist communications and advocacy taskforce, dedicated to telling the story of lead and championing its uses, the Lead Metal Advocacy & Communications Taskforce (PbMACTF). Across these networks, the PbRC collaborates with some of the biggest downstream users of lead in the world, as well as those using small volumes that are just as essential.

Whether you’re an EU regulator or policymaker, a technical employee looking to expand on your knowledge, a regulatory affairs officer, or if you are interested in general, a suite of case studies are available for download that demonstrate lead’s essential uses in everyday life.

If you would like to find out more about PbRC’s work and how non-members can get involved with the PbMACTF, contact us.

Is the use of lead metal currently subject to REACH Authorisation?

No.

Following a proposal by the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI), lead metal was included in the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) for Authorisation on 27 June 2018. Now that Pb metal is Candidate Listed, the European Chemicals Agency could recommend lead metal for inclusion in REACH Annex XIV as early as end 2021. If Member States and the European Commission then agree, REACH Annex XIV would be amended; a transitional period would then apply before the use of lead metal in the EU on its own or in mixtures (subject to certain concentration thresholds) required Authorisation. The transition period could reasonably be in the region of 2-5 years.

The Lead REACH Consortium has published an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions on the Candidate Listing of lead metal, its impacts, and subsequent steps towards Authorisation.

Questions 6 to 8 in the Consortium’s Q&A document on classification, concentration limits, thresholds and communication obligations also provides some discussion on the applicability of REACH Authorisation should Pb metal be added to Annex XIV.

Other than lead metal, which substances are managed by the Consortium?

The Lead REACH Consortium oversees the regulatory defence under REACH for lead metal, 11 lead compounds, and 14 UVCB substances which are produced as by-products.

The Secretariat developed, and continues to manage, the Lead Registration dossiers and Chemical Safety Reports, with all 26 substances being registered ahead of the 2010 deadline. The Consortium is actively engaged in the continuous improvement of those registrations, as well as wider regulatory activities and advocacy, particularly in the context of REACH Authorisation and Restriction.

Find out more about the work of the Consortium here.

As a Consortium member, how can I find out more about the Consortium’s current work?

The biannual General Assembly meetings provide an ideal opportunity to find out more about recent developments in REACH, and to receive information on the progress under the Consortium’s extensive work plan. They are also a great forum to network with fellow Consortium members, and offer the opportunity to discuss with the Secretariat any specific regulatory matters affecting your company.

You can also keep up to date through our REACH Newsletter, which you can find in the Members’ section, together with a copy of this year’s Consortium work plan.

My company is interested in joining the Lead REACH Consortium. How can we obtain information on the application process and the costs involved?

Information on joining the Consortium, including the application forms, is available on the Consortium’s website. Please contact the Secretariat to request information on the membership costs applicable to your situation.

As a new importer of lead substances needing to register for REACH, must I buy a Letter or Access or am I eligible to join the Consortium?

Consortium membership is open to companies involved in the mining, smelting, refining and recycling of lead, as well as manufacturers and importers of lead compounds and producers of lead-based automotive and industrial batteries. The LOA is offered as a convenient way of accessing the Consortium’s data for the purposes of REACH registration without becoming a member, and is often a cost-effective approach for legal entities in lower tonnage bands. However, Consortium membership provides many additional benefits.

How can my company use Lead REACH Consortium data for compliance with K-REACH and other non-EU legislation?

The Consortium encourages the lawful use of its datasets for compliance with other REACH-like legislation around the world, such as K-REACH. On payment of any relevant fees, non-member companies and non-EU consortia with such legal obligations may be granted a licence to use the Lead REACH Consortium’s data for use outside the EU.

Template Licence to Use (LTU) agreements are available to cover three situations:

  • to extend the rights of Lead REACH Consortium Member companies to allow the use of the datasets in non-EU jurisdictions;
  • to grant an individual non-member company the right to use a Lead REACH Consortium dataset for non-EU legislation;
  • to grant a non-EU consortium, or a group of non-member companies, the right to use a Lead REACH Consortium dataset for non-EU legislation.

The template agreements set out the costs; the Consortium’s website provides more information on applying for a Licence to Use.

Please contact the Secretariat to discuss your particular situation in more detail.

My legal entity needs to register a lead compound which is not under the Consortium’s remit. How do we obtain access to the Consortium’s data to use in a read-across approach?

The Consortium offers a ‘Licence to Use’ (LTU) which grants access to the Consortium’s core data on the lead cation to enable read-across. Contact us for more information.

Where can I find the latest CLP classifications for lead substances?

See the substance grade data sheets in Our substances and the Consortium’s CLP activities.

The 9th ATP's harmonised classification for lead metal in massive form does not include a specific concentration limit. What does that mean for alloys containing lead metal?

In the absence of a specific concentration limit, the generic concentration limit applies which, for reproductive toxicity, is 0.3%. For STOT RE 1, the GCL is 10%.

Find out more about the impact of the harmonised classification for lead metal in the Consortium’s FAQ document, Lead Metal and the 9th ATP to CLP Frequently Asked Questions.