The EU will ban the use of six chemical substances classifed as being of very high concern (SVHC) within the next three to five years unless companies ask for authorisation for their use. The move, a result of the EU’s Reach chemicals policy, is being hailed from some quarters as a spur to innovation, in that it will force the chemical industry to search for safer alternatives.
The chemicals are 5-tert-butyl-2,4,6-trinitro-m-xylene (musk xylene), 4,4′-diaminodiphenylmethane (MDA), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). These are three phthalates, a flame retardant, a synthetic musk and a compound used in epoxy resins and adhesives.
They are the first chemicals to be placed on the SVHC candidate list to become subject to authorisation under Reach.
“Today’s decision is an example of the successful implementation of Reach and of how sustainability can be combined with competitiveness. It will encourage industry to develop alternatives and foster innovation,” said European Commission vice president Antonio Tajani.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) says companies wishing to sell or use these substances will need to demonstrate that the required safety measures have been taken to adequately control the risks posed by the substances, or that the substances’ benefits for the economy and society outweighed the risks.