European Agency Lists 20 Substances For Possible EU Ban, Seeks Comment

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BRUSSELS—The European Chemicals Agency is seeking comments on a proposal to list 20 hazardous chemicals as “substances of very high concern” (SVHCs), meaning they could eventually be banned in the European Union under the bloc's REACH law.

ECHA said Aug. 29 that 19 of the substances were proposed for SVHC status because they have been classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic (CMR) and are considered to have “potentially serious effects on human health.” The 20th chemical was proposed because it has “endocrine disrupting properties and [the] potential for serious effects to the environment.”

The substances were variously nominated for SVHC status by ECHA and by regulatory authorities in Austria, France, Germany, Norway, and Slovakia.

The 19 CMR substances are 1,2-dichloroethane; 2,2’-dichloro-4,4’-methylenedianiline (MOCA); aluminosilicate refractory ceramic fibers (RCF); arsenic acid; bis(2-methoxyethyl) ether; bis(2-methoxyethyl) phthalate; calcium arsenate; dichromium tris(chromate); formaldehyde, oligomeric reaction products with aniline; o-anisidine; lead diazide; lead dipicrate; lead styphnate; N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMAC); pentazinc chromate octahydroxide; phenolphthalein; potassium hydroxyoctaoxodizincatedichromate; trilead diarsenate; and zirconia aluminosilicate refractory ceramic fibers. The substance with endocrine disrupting properties is 4-tert-octylphenol.

Comments on the listing of the chemicals as SVHCs are due by Oct. 13.

Comments should “focus primarily on the hazardous properties that qualify the chemicals as SVHCs and on the substance identity,” ECHA said. Consideration of the uses of the substances and their exposure risks would mainly be dealt with through later consultations, the agency said.

Listing Triggers Further Study

The listing of a substance as an SVHC under REACH (EU Regulation No. 1907/2006 on the registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals) is a preliminary step that triggers further studies and consultations which may lead to an eventual ban.

So far, 53 substances have been accorded SVHC status, with decisions made to prohibit the use of six of them after various sunset dates in 2014 and 2015 (34 INER 212, 3/2/11).

ECHA said that even before any ban is imposed, “inclusion on the [SVHC] list imposes new information requirements on suppliers of preparations and articles containing the substances.” Companies supplying SVHCs must provide their customers with safety data sheets, while makers of products containing SVHCs must submit a notification to ECHA.

By Stephen Gardner

More information on the ECHA consultations on proposals to identify Substances of Very High Concern is available at .