In December, the European Chemicals Agency’s Member State Committee accepted the newest fifteen substances of very high concern as ‘candidate list chemicals’. However, only fourteen of these substances were officially added to the REACH candidate list in January, because the addition of acrylamide has been suspended by the President of the General Court of the European Union, while a case against acrylamide becoming a candidate, filed by a producers group and a French producer, is being heard. There are now 29 chemicals, or substances of very high concern, in total on the REACH candidate list, which identifies chemicals for potential authorization under REACH.
The fourteen newest chemicals or chemical groups on the candidate list are five anthracene oil and related compounds, coal tar pitch, aluminosilicate refractory ceramic fibres, zirconia aluminosilicate refractory ceramic fibres, 2,4-dinitrotoluene, diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) , three lead chromate and related pigments, and tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate. The European Chemical Agency website has a list of the candidate chemicals, which gives details about why it was included (with supporting documentation) and when.
Once a chemical has been officially placed on the candidate list, the European public has a right to know about the presence of these chemicals in products they buy, when they ask. Companies are obliged to respond to consumer right-to-know queries within 45 days of receiving the request, at no charge. Any member of the European public can ask whether a candidate substance is in a product they are buying by submitting a letter such as the model one in this Your Right to Know brochure.
Companies can also use the candidate list to know ahead of time which chemicals will eventually be put through the authorisation process and can arrange to stop using them and find safer substitutes. The list therefore functions as a vital source of information to enable people to make safer choices when buying products, and as an early signal to encourage industry innovation, green chemistry and safer substitutes.
For more information: Press release from ECHA
Written on 10 March 2010.