On 14 January 2009 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) launched a public consultation on which chemicals from the Candidate List should move first through the Authorisation process (the so-called ‘Priority’ or ‘Working List’). The Agency has split the public consultation into two parts, one concerning the priority-setting rationale used to select the substances; and another on their proposed priority substances. Anyone interested can comment by 14th April 2009 on either or both parts, using the forms on the Agency website (links given below).
This public consultation is important because the authorisation process is REACH’s strictest set of hurdles which control how and whether chemicals can be placed on the market. This consultation will help collect the information and perspectives about the parameters by which the ranking of chemicals is conducted; and how individual chemicals (or groups of chemicals) are treated within the process (deadlines, exceptions, etc).
Agency’s Proposed Priority Chemicals
The Agency recommends prioritising 7 out of the 15 chemicals that are on the Candidate List. The first version of the Candidate List was published by Agency on 28 October 2008. The Agency’s proposal is called “The Draft recommendation of substances for inclusion in the list of substances subject to Authorisation”.
This draft recommendation and its reasoning is composed of a table describing the chemicals proposed for the list of chemicals to go through authorisation (Annex XIV), and the documents justifying each chemical’s recommendation. The information covers several items:
The Agency is particularly interested in comments on the uses of the chemicals for which exemptions from the ‘authorisation process’ are proposed, and the conditions of those exemptions. For example, one of the proposed chemicals is DEHP, recognised as toxic to reproduction. The Agency is proposing the use of artists’ paints to be exempted from authorisation. Artists’ paints constitute a very small annual use of DEHP, compared to floorings, wirings, cables, hoses and coated fabrics. (See here).
List of prioritised substances:
|Substance name||Reason for inclusion||Chemical was nominated by|
|Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)||Toxic for reproduction||Austria|
|Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)||Toxic to reproduction||Austria|
|5-ter-butyl-2,4,6-trinitro-m-xylene (musk xylene)||vPvB*||Netherlands|
|Bis (2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP)||Toxic to reproduction||Sweden|
|Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) and all major diastereoisomeres identified.||PBT*||Sweden|
|Alkanes, C10-C13, chloro (Short Chain Chlorinated Paraffins)||PBT and vPvB*||UK|
(* PBT = persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, CMR = carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic to reproduction, vPvB = very persistent and very bioaccumulative.) (Source: European Chemicals Agency)
The Agency’s approach to Priority Setting
The Agency developed a priority-setting approach that they regard as ‘pragmatic’, relying on the legal criteria of REACH article 58.3 which says that priority should normally be given to chemicals with PBT or vPvB properities; wide dispersive use; or produced in high volumes. The Agency prioritised the Candidate chemicals on the basis of the available information on intrinsic properties, uses, releases and volumes. A background report was developed for each substance. These reports summarise the information that was used to develop the conclusions on the priority setting as well as the information needed to develop the draft recommendation for those substances proposed for inclusion.
To comment on ECHA’s justification for prioritising a substance see here
Any organisation and/or individual who wants to promote reduction in the use of dangerous chemicals can do the following:
What else you can do:
Links to related articles:
Written on 3 February 2009.