ECHA intention to propose lead metal for REACH Authorisation – Space Group to prepare joint response

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has included lead metal in its draft 11th recommendation for authorisation under the EU’s REACH Regulation on chemicals, launching a public consultation open until 2 May 2022. Eurospace is inviting additional interested companies in the European space industry to join our collaborative effort to respond to this important consultation.

Lead metal was included in the REACH Candidate List of substances of very high concern for Authorisation in June 2018 due to its EU-harmonised hazard classification as toxic for reproduction. Given its continued importance in various sectors in terms of wide dispersive use and volumes, lead metal has scored relatively high to trigger ECHA’s priority criteria. Lead metal is thus the first element (metal) ever, which is intended to be proposed for REACH authorisation.

It should be noted that the present ECHA draft recommendation still needs to be confirmed (finalised) after the public consultation, and the decision to include substances proposed by ECHA in the authorisation list is with the European Commission. A “worst case” sunset date for lead metal could be in 2028.

In the European Space Sector lead metal has been used for decades for high reliability applications. The use of tin-lead solder alloys for electrical and electronic equipment constitutes the main space-related use of lead. Additional critical uses of lead in the space domain include some alloys (e.g. lead containing copper or brass), indium-lead solder on thick gold coatings for long-life systems and pyrotechnical devices, in seals for applications where the high temperatures are not suited to organic materials and as a solid lubricant for space mechanism bearings in applications which cannot use oils and greases due to contamination, viscosity or volatility problems. Further areas of use include battery terminals and radiation shielding.

Given the substance’s criticality for the European Space Sector the Materials and Processes Technology Board of the European Space Components Coordination (ESCC MPTB) initiated a dedicated Lead metal REACH Space Task Force (LTF) of industrial participants and space agencies in March 2018. The group’s first task was to provide detailed information to ECHA on the space applications of lead metal, prior to its inclusion in the Candidate List (paper of 20 April 2018). In 2020, a case study, exemplifying why lead remains critical to the safety and reliability of space systems, was developed as part of the cross-sector Lead Matters campaign in collaboration with the International Lead Association.

Now, LTF will start preparing its contribution to the ECHA public consultation until 2 May 2022 as a matter of priority. A dedicated meeting has been scheduled for 15 February 2022 to kick off the preparations. The LTF is open to all companies and agencies in the European Space Sector and aims to cover all relevant uses of lead metal for space applications.

Further information:


  • Pierre Lionnet, Research and Managing Director, ASD-EUROSPACE,, +33-(0)1 44 42 00 70