A Closer Scrutiny of 300 Chemicals in Europe by the ECHA is on the Cards

When the REACH regulation become law in Europe in 2006, companies selling products in or to the region were required to undertake a mammoth task – that of collating a comprehensive set of data on what their chemicals comprise, along with scientific evidence that their chemicals are safe to use. Colossal amounts of data were submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in 2010 and again in 2013.

Regulatory authorities have claimed that their ultimate aim is to make suppliers more responsible so that they would bring only those chemicals to the market that are safe on the environment and members of the public.

By now the ECHA boasts a massive repository of information about all chemicals that are sold in large volumes – those greater than 100 tons a year, to be precise. In addition to this, manufacturers were also required to submit data pertaining to chemicals that could potentially cause any of the following if they are present in volumes over one ton per year: hereditary mutations, cancer, disruption in reproductive toxicity, and pose a danger to aquatic life. For all other substances present in volumes greater than a ton per year, the regulation calls for the data to be submitted by 2018.

Even before the REACH regulation, a number of chemicals were banned since they were found to or suspected to contain harmful chemicals. However, it is now with the latest set of data that a closer scrutiny of the chemicals will be initiated.

The latest lot of 300 chemicals will be added to the list of 200 chemicals that have already been short-listed for detailed scrutiny. Regulators will then be able to decide whether to impose a ban on the chemicals or restrict their production and usage volumes in Europe. Companies manufacturing these chemicals will be under the scanner to ascertain if they are complying with guidelines for the safe usage of these chemicals.

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