Sunday, September 26, 2010

Europe Adopts First Chemicals for its Authorization List under REACH

We now have our first list of chemicals added to Annex XIV for possible Authorization.  This past week the EU’s REACH Committee adopted a list of six substances the European Chemical's Agency (ECHA) has proposed as substances of very high concern.

The six listed in Annex XIV are:

  • 5-tert-butyl-2,4,6-trinitro-m-xylene (also known as musk xylene)
  • 4,4’ – diaminodiphenylmethane (MDA)
  • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD)
  • Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
All six were previously listed on ECHA's "candidate list," which is the first step in the REACH Authorization process.  Following the opportunity for stakeholders to comment, the chemicals now are formerly added to Annex XIV of REACH. 

And here is where things get really interesting.  Now that these six (and many more in the future) are in Annex XIV, they are now considered to be on the chopping block.  These six chemicals will be banned after a designated time period unless manufacturers make formal application for "authorization."  Authorization means they could be allowed to continue certain uses of the substance, but only under strictly controlled conditions for a finite period of time to allow the development or discovery of a substitute substance.  Meanwhile the stigma of being listed will likely cause downstream users to search for alternative formulations for their products, so the incentives for finding replacements are based both on regulatory deadlines and market economics.

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