Tuesday, August 30, 2011

EU Proposes to Ban 20 Chemical Substances

ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency based in Helsinki, has proposed a list of 20 chemical substances for eventual banning under the EU REACH program.  The August 29, 2011 proposal would label these chemicals as "substances of very high concern" (SVHC), which would make them eligible for placement on the "candidate list."  Once on the candidate list the substances may then be placed on Annex XIV of REACH, which requires manufacturers to apply for authorization for continued use.  Any authorization would be limited to specific uses that can control for the hazardous properties of each substance, and authorization is for a limited time period - just long enough for companies to find substitutes.

Nineteen of the 20 substances are proposed because of their "potentially serious effects on human health." These are classified as carcinogenic and/or toxic for reproduction.  One substance is proposed to be identified as a "substance of equivalent concern...because of its endocrine disrupting properties and potential for serious effects to the environment."

The substances are listed in the table of the ECHA press release here.

Interested parties have until October 13, 2011 to comment on any of the proposed SVHCs. ECHA notes that comments "should focus primarily on the hazardous properties that qualify the chemicals as SVHCs and on the substance identity."  They also ask for "further information on the uses, exposures and availability of safer alternative substances or techniques."

Unless dropped from the list based on comments received, these 20 will join the 53 substances already on the Candidate List. Some of these have already been added to Annex XIV.

More information on the REACH authorization process can be found on ECHA's web site.

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