Monday, June 14, 2010

EU Commission Gets Close to Issuing Final PBT Chemical Annex for REACH

After much internal (and external) disagreement, the European Commission is finally ready to move ahead with its criteria for identifying Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic chemicals (PBT), as well as those that are not toxic but are Very Persistent and Very Bioaccumulative (vPvB). This new version of what is called Annex XIII of REACH is being forwarded to the CARACAL group this week and could be published some time this fall.

CARACAL is an acronym for the Competent Authorities to REACH and Classification and Labelling (CARACAL). If the proposal is adopted a notification would be sent to the WTO for comment within 60 days, and if no hangups occur there it will enter the REACH comitology procedure. Assuming all goes well there then it will get published in the EU Official Journal and enter into force.

But this still isn't a done deal. The proposal, which relies on established PBT criteria and allows weight of evidence to be included, has been quite vigorously debated inside the Commission. Most of the disagreement has been over the use of weight of evidence (WoE). WoE was omitted from the original proposal in 2008 but now it seems it has been allowed in order to provide some flexibility in assessing the PBT or vPvB status of a chemical.

The PBT guidance is available on the ECHA web site.

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