ECHA predicts SVHC applications to double in 2014

03 January 2014 11:27 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Helsinki-based regulatory body the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) predicted on Friday that the number of applications to use chemicals classified as substances of very high concern (SVHCs) will double in 2014 from eight in 2013.

The applications received in 2013 covered two different phthalates and 17 different specific uses, ECHA said, adding that it expects chromium-containing substances and solvent trichloroethylene to feature strongly in this year’s applications.

The forecast comes as the agency delivers its first opinion on an SVHC application, from UK-headquartered auto maker Rolls Royce Plc.

The company applied for authorisation to use bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in a stop-off formulation used during diffusion bonding and manufacture of aero engine fan blades.

Two ECHA committees agreed that the material, which is deemed toxic for reproduction, is the only economically and technically feasible substance for use in the process. The ECHA added that adequate controls had been demonstrated by Rolls Royce.

The final authorisation decision rests with the European Commission, based on ECHA's opinions, with a review of of the continued use of the substance to take place in seven years.

In March last year, ECHA risk management director Jack de Buijn told ICIS that there is a perception in the chemicals industry that the categorisation of a material as an SVHC represents a de facto blacklist.

“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 said.

By Tom Brown