Main content | back to top
Substances of Very High Concern - SVHC Status
The following provides an update of the status of SVHC content in products marketed by Shell Lubricants companies.
Please advertise this page to relevant colleagues, such as REACH focal points, HSE advisors, industrial hygienists or product stewards.
Most of the substance types in the ECHA Candidate List of SVHC for authorisation – last updated on 16/12/2013 – have been included in our own Shell Lubricants Restricted Substances List for well over 10 years. This means that, during this time, the use of these SVHC in new formulations developed for Shell Branded Lubricant Products has been reduced, discouraged or discontinued.
Where they are known to be used in existing formulations, they are high priority for replacement. There are some exceptions to this, for reasons outlined hereunder and they are: boric acid, certain sodium borates, octylphenol ethoxylate, nonylphenol ethoxylate and trixylyl phosphate.
As further detailed below, based on our current level of knowledge, we are not aware of any Shell Branded Lubricant Products in the active portfolio which includes SVHC other than boric acid, certain sodium borates, octylphenol ethoxylate, nonylphenol ethoxylate & trixylyl phosphate. Where these substances are present at greater than 0.1% in a Shell Branded Lubricant Product, this information is being included on the relevant product Safety Data Sheet.
Boric acid and sodium borates in Shell lubricants formulations
For many years boric acid has been widely used for the manufacture of thickeners for lubricating greases, while sodium borates are common ingredients of coolants. Boric acid is also used as an intermediate to prepare DOT 4 type of brake-fluids.
- Coolants. Some of our coolants contain an amount between 0.1% and 0.99% of Disodium tetraborate pentahydrate. The concentration is well below the special concentration limits specified along with the publication of the European Commission decision to classify the substance, and confirmed with the publication of the First Adaptation to Technical Progress (ATP) of the CLP regulation in September 2009 (Annex VI, Table 3.1)1. Where this substance is present at 0.1% or more in a Shell Branded Lubricant, this information is included in chapter 3 of the relevant product Safety Data Sheet. Therefore the component is not affecting the classification and labelling of the finished coolant products. We will keep monitoring status of Disodium tetraborate pentahydrate in ECHA recommendations to the European Commission for inclusion in Annex XIV of REACH.
- Brake fluids. Boric acid is used as an intermediate to produce Borated Glycol Ethers that are present as components in DOT 4 type brake fluids placed on the market by Shell Lubricants companies. No unreacted Boric Acid is present in the finished product, and the Borated Glycol Ethers themselves are not classified as dangerous and are not included in the ECHA SVHC list.
- Grease thickeners. Shell Lubricants companies place on the market some lubricating greases based on Borate complex thickener technology. Such thickeners are obtained via reaction of Boric acid with an excess of strong alkaline base, so that in the finished reacted product no free Boric Acid is left. The resulting Borate complexes are not classified and not listed themselves in the SVHC list.
Octylphenol ethoxylates in Shell Lubricants formulations
One diesel automotive formulation and one transmission fluid for a specific customer contain approximately 0.1% of octylphenol ethoxylate (OPE). We are engaging with our suppliers to ensure that the levels of these substances in the materials they provide to us are reduced or eliminated completely. Where this substance is present at 0.1% or more in a Shell Branded Lubricant, this information is included in chapter 3 of the relevant product Safety Data Sheet.
Nonylphenol ethoxylates in Shell Lubricants formulations
Five Shell Lubricants EU marketed products contain nonylphenol ethoxylate. Three of these products are customer specific and we are working to replace them with suitable alternatives. For the other two products, we are engaging with our suppliers to ensure that the levels of these substances in the materials they provide to us are reduced or eliminated completely. Where this substance is present at 0.1% or more in a Shell Branded Lubricant, this information is included in chapter 3 of the relevant product Safety Data Sheet.
Trixylyl phosphate in Shell Lubricants formulations
Two Shell Lubricants EU marketed products contain trixylyl phosphate. One of the products has been re-formulated to substitute the additive containing trixylyl phosphate with a less hazardous one. We expect the newly formulated product to be available before the end of 2014. For the other product, we are working on substitution of this product with a less hazardous one and will communicate the implementation plan in due time to customers. Where this substance is present at 0.1% or more in a Shell Branded Lubricant, this information will shortly be included in chapter 3 of the relevant product Safety Data Sheet.
References & Notes:
Reference 1: ECHA website with SVHC list.
Note 1: Based on EU CLP Regulation No. 1272/2008 of 16 Dec 2008, Annex VI, Table 3.1, List of harmonized classification and labelling of hazardous substances, as amended by Reg. No 790/2009, 10 Aug 2009, mixtures containing ≥6,5% Disodium tetraborate pentahydrate are required to be labelled Repr. 1B; H360FD - May damage fertility. May damage the unborn child.