May 15, 2019 by Rhiannon Smith


Do you produce a polymer? Have you registered the monomer under EU REACH? Are you looking to obtain/maintain market access for your polymer in Korea? There are some key differences that you should be aware of when it comes to polymers under EU REACH and K-REACH; crucially under EU REACH registration of the monomer is required, whilst K-REACH requires registration of the polymer. There are also rules under K-REACH for naming polymers, depending on their monomer(s).

The first task when it comes to deciding if you need to register a polymer under K-REACH is to determine if it meets the definition of a polymer of low concern, in which case you should apply for exemption confirmation. For exemption, the following conditions must be met:

  • Molecular weight number (Mn) average is ≥10,000, Mn <500 is <2%, Mn <1,000 is < 5% and the substance is not cationic.
  • Mn average is ≥10,000, Mn <500 is <2%, Mn <1,000 is <5%, the substance is cationic, and the substance is used only in solid state, soluble or dissolved in water form.
  • Mn average is ≥1,000 and <10,000, Mn <1000 is <25%, Mn <500 is <10% and monomer (new chemical, hazardous substance or priority substance) is <0.1% w/w.

Similar to ‘no-longer-polymers’ under EU REACH, polymers which were previously exempted from hazard review under TCCA but which do not meet the definition of polymers of low concern are subject to notification (with a grace period until 31 December 2021).

If you have a polymer substance that does require registration, then you need to supply hazard information, similar to the data requirements for substance under EU REACH, albeit with lower data requirements for polymers than for standard substances.