Allison Tracy is a Chemicals Policy Fellow.
The European Commission has formally added eight more chemicals to the list of chemicals subject to authorization under the European Union’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). These eight chemicals, which were proposed for addition to the Authorization List (or Annex XIV) in December 2010, join the six inaugural chemicals that were formally listed last February (see EDF’s blog post on that occasion). The full Authorization List is available on ECHA’s website; the list also specifies the corresponding sunset date by which time uses of a chemical must cease unless specifically authorized.The eight latest additions and the reasons for listing them are:
|Chemical Name||CAS number||Reason for listing|
|Di-isobutylphthalate (DIBP)||84-69-5||Toxic for reproduction (category 1B)|
|Diarsenic trioxide||1327-53-3||Carcinogenic (category 1A)|
|Diarsenic pentaoxide||1303-28-2||Carcinogenic (category 1A)|
|Lead chromate||7758-97-6||Carcinogenic (category 1B) Toxic for reproduction (category 1A)|
|Lead sulfochromate yellow (CI Pigment Yellow 34)||1344-37-2||Carcinogenic (category 1B) Toxic for reproduction (category 1A)|
|Lead chromate molybdate sulphate red (CI Pigment Red 104)||12656-85-8||Carcinogenic (category 1B) Toxic for reproduction (category 1A)|
|Tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP)||115-96-8||Toxic for reproduction (category 1B)|
|2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT)||121-14-2||Carcinogenic (category 1B)|
The Authorization List is growing in small batches of chemicals because the listing process is actually quite involved. ECHA begins by selecting chemicals to be recommended for addition to the Authorization List from the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern for Authorization, after which the European Commission must approve the recommendation. To get a sense of the time involved, note that the European Commission finalized the first batch of chemicals for the Authorization List last February, based upon ECHA’s first recommendation from June of 2009. The eight chemicals added yesterday were proposed in ECHA’s second recommendation in December of 2010 – more than a year ago. Another 13 chemicals that comprise the third recommendation were proposed in December of 2011 and are expected to be added to the Authorization List in February of 2013.
As we have described in previous blog posts (here, for example), uses of the chemicals on the Authorization List will be banned following the sunset date unless companies obtain “authorization” to continue a specific use of the chemical. To do so, a company must:
1) Establish “adequate control”; or
2) For a chemical that belongs to one of the very high-concern designations deemed unable to qualify under the “adequate control” criterion, establish that the socioeconomic benefits of using the chemical outweigh the risks to human health and the environment AND that viable substitutes do not exist.
Applications for authorization must be submitted before the designated “latest application date”, which is tied to the chemical’s sunset date. The sunset dates for the 14 chemicals range from August of 2014 to August of 2015, with the sunset dates for the eight recent additions all in 2015.
As is the case with much of ECHA’s work under REACH, the Authorization list bears an important message for U.S. companies and consumers. The eight chemicals newly subjected to authorization are relevant for the U.S. chemicals market:
- All eight of the added chemicals are present on the USEPA's Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory, the public version of which lists approximately 67,000 chemicals that have been in commerce in the U.S at some point since 1979.
- Seven of the eight additions were reported in the 2006 cycle of the Inventory Update Reporting rule (IUR), which required companies to report information on chemicals manufactured or imported in amounts exceeding 25,000 pounds per year.
The U.S.’ major trading partner continues to implement its pioneering policy to modernize chemicals management, increasingly leaving us to wonder when U.S. legislators will finally wake up and smell the coffee.