Industry perceives SVHC status as potential 'blacklist' - ECHA

25 March 2013 17:03  [Source: ICIS news]

HELSINKI (ICIS)--There is a perception among many European chemicals companies the categorisation of a material as a “substance of very high concern” (SVHC) under the European Chemical Agency’s (ECHA’s) Reach programme may represent a blacklisting, the agency said on Monday.

According to Jack de Bruijn, ECHA’s director of risk management, there is a widespread belief throughout the industry the listing of a chemical as a SVHC may represent a prelude to it being banned outright. This perception may be holding companies back from submitting certain materials for authorisation in the EU, de Bruijn added.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty in the market about what is going to happen [with applications]. Will people who have done the proper application get the authorisation granted or not? And that has had some effect on how people in general look at candidate listing and authorisation.

“There is a lot of misconception that people see candidate listing as the first step to banning a substance, which it normally shouldn’t be,” he added.

If a material has certain hazardous properties – such as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction-related characteristics -  it may be added to the candidate list for SVHCs by the ECHA..

Candidate listing carries additional obligations for companies using a material. The ECHA must be notified, a safety data sheet must be provided by the user, and there will be a duty to communicate safe usage information to customers.

However, companies with a strong justification for using a substance deemed to be of very high concern, will usually be permitted to continue using it, according to de Bruijn.

“If you get onto the candidate list, you have to make a proper analysis of whether you want to continue using that substance, and if you have good reasons why that is needed – if there are no alternatives, or the benefits outweigh the risks – you should normally be able to get an authorisation,” he added.

There are currently 138 materials on the ECHA’s SVHC candidate list.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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