A new list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) has passed through the public consultation and ECHA committee stages and is now recommended to the EU Commission for inclusion onto the Authorisation List. All 5 substances were put forward for consideration owing to their intrinsic properties (listed on the Candidate List), high volumes and widespread applications in the EU. Once included on the Authorisation list, users of these substances will be required to apply for and be granted an Authorisation to allow for continued use in the future.
On the list two substances considered of an ‘Equivalent Level of Concern’ are proposed.
The first, Diazene-1,2-dicarboxamide (C,C’-azodi(formamide (ACDA), used as a blowing agent in manufacture of polymer and rubber articles is classified as a respiratory sensitizer. Substances that are classified as respiratory sensitisers are not explicitly considered SHVCs in the same manner as for example substance that is a Carcinogen (Cat 1A), but have recently been considered as being of an equivalent level of concern and therefore meet the SVHC criteria.
The second, 4-tert-Octylphenol ethoxylates (4-tert OPnEO), used in paints, coatings and as a constituent of the commonly used surfactant products is not itself considered an SVHC however, the substance is known to rapidly degrade in the environment to a substance that poses a significant environmental hazard. Through this mechanism, ECHA argues the substance meets the equivalent level of concern and therefore SVHC criteria.
The remaining three substances are proposed due to reproductive toxicity and carcinogenic classification. Among these is the aprotic solvent, N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF), used in a wide range of industries. Aluminosilicate Refractory Ceramic and Zirconia Alluminosilicate Refractory Fibres used for insulation in high temperature industries make up the list.
It remains to be seen whether the substance DMF in particular will be impacted by decisions taken for the other aprotic solvents (DMAC, and NMP) currently proceeding through parallel REACH processes or whether the selection criteria will be challenged. Perhaps this list will open the door to many other substances being proposed for Authorisation under the ‘Equivalent Level of Concern’ banner.
The EU Commission will now consider this, ECHAs 5th recommendation for inclusion onto the Authorisation list.
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