ECHA prepares for first hazardous chem authorisation requests

26 March 2013 17:30  [Source: ICIS news]

HELSINKI (ICIS)--The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) said on Tuesday that it is expecting to receive its first applications to market or use a substance of very high concern (SVHC) in the EU in May.

“We are expecting about six applications in May. We do not know the exact number yet, simply because the companies themselves need to decide whether they apply jointly or separately,” said Matti Vainio, the ECHA’s unit head of risk management implementation, speaking at the ECHA’s stakeholder day in Helsinki, Finland.

A successful application for authorisation would allow a company to use or market one of the 138 materials currently on ECHA’s candidate list of SVHCs

Over the course of 2012 and 2013, the ECHA said that it had received a total of seven notifications of intention to submit, and held six pre-submission information sessions with companies.

One of the companies planning to apply is US chemicals company Huntsman, alongside South Africa-based group Sasol.

According to Bill Frazee, technical director for licensing at Huntsman Performance Products, the companies will be applying for authorisation to use dibutyl phthalate (DBP) as a solvent in their production process for maleic anhydride (MA), an industrial intermediate.

MA is produced by a joint venture established by the two companies at a Sasol plant in Moers, Germany. DBP is not incorporated into the MA product, and the application is being made purely as a workplace safety issue, Frazee added.

“The first comment I would make to my industrial associates is that this is a project not to be outsourced to a consultant or your health and safety department. It should be considered a business-critical project, and resourced accordingly,” he said, speaking at the stakeholder day.

“Don’t underestimate the effort required. This is a multi-year project,” he added.

Commenting on the necessary criteria for a successful application, Vainio added that high-risk chemicals being employed in operations judged to provide little value in the EU were unlikely to be successful.

He said: “The main reason to apply is that the substance that you are thinking about applying for clearly has value in the European Union... and the risks of using that material are small.

“You should not apply if [the material] is of little value and the risks are high,” he added.


By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214



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