Earlier this year the European Commission’s industry and environment departments agreed on long-awaited guidance that paved the way for companies to seek authorisations for Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) under the REACH regulations.
The guidance had been delayed because the two departments had differing views on the requirements for applicants. Finally, it was agreed the applicants need not submit a substitute plan but provide a timeline indicating when substitutes might become available.
The marketing and use of chemicals on this authorisation list will be prohibited unless producers can show there is a strong enough case to allow them.Member states have now voted to add the first six SVHCs to the authorisation list for special approval (Annex XIV).
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) originally recommended their inclusion back in 2009. At that time there were seven substances proposed but Member States have not backed the inclusion of short-chain chlorinated paraffins.
Under the rules agreed, musk xylene and MDA cannot be used in the European Union from 42 months after the law enters into force which is expected early in the New Year. DBP, BBP and DEHP phthalates cannot be used from 48 months and flame retardant HBCDD from 54 months. These dates are referred to as Sunset Dates.
Companies will have to apply for costly authorisations much earlier, with deadlines expected between 24 and 36 months from entry into force depending on the substance.Downstream users can use authorised substances only for the uses they are authorised, and they must obtain the substances from companies that have been granted authorisation for that specific use.
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