ECHA has added three brominated substances and MCCPs to the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern. The three brominated chemicals (BMP*, TBNPA*, DBPA*) are used in polymers resins or compounds, in foams or as intermediates. MCCPs (medium-chain chlorinated paraffins) are used as flame retardants and as plasticisers in plastics, rubbers and sealants.
Companies must notify ECHA (European Chemical Agency) and inform customers and consumers if any Candidate List substances are present in finished products (“articles”) > 0.1% w/w. Substances on the Candidate List, which now has 219 entries, may be then placed on the Authorisation List (Reach Annex 14), meaning companies would need to apply for permission to continue using them.
REACH, the European chemicals regulation, has different levels of scrutiny or restriction for substances:
- CoRAP List: substances under study by Member States, to assess possible concerns
- SVHC: classification as a Substance of Very High Concern: carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotox, persistent – bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and/or very persistent – very bioaccumulative (vPvB), or “evidence of probable equivalent concern”
- Candidate List (Annex 14)
- Restricted (Annex 17)
The following brominated flame retardants are already “Restricted” (REACH Annex 17, effectively banned except in specific authorised uses): Polybrominated diphenyls (Penta-, Octa-, DecaBDE) and for skin contact (e.g. textiles): TRIS** and PBBs**. Additionally, certain ammonium salts are “Restricted” in cellulose insulating materials.
Furthermore, the following halogenated flame retardants are already listed as candidate “Substances of Very High Concern” (REACH Annex 14), so that restrictions can be expected, if not already in place: Polybrominated diphenyls (Penta-, Octa-, DecaBDE) (PBT, vPvB), HBCD (PBT), Short chain chlorinated paraffins = SCCP (PBT, vPvB), Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (toxic for reproduction). Also in REACH Annex 14 are: Boric acid, Disodium borate and Trixylyl phosphate (all: toxic for reproduction).
Also, ten other halogenated FRs, seven phosphate esters, Borax (sodium tetraborate) and diantimony trioxide (ATO) are currently on the ECHA CoRAP (Community Rolling Action Plan, listing chemicals for evaluation, which currently includes 392 chemicals), see pinfa Newsletter n°126.
* BMP = 2,2-bis(bromomethyl)propane1,3-diol. TBNPA = 2,2-dimethylpropan-1-ol,tribromo derivative or 3-bromo-2,2-bis(bromomethyl)-1-propanol. DBPA = 2,3-dibromo-1-propanol.
TRIS = Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate. PBBs = Polybromobiphenyls.
“Candidate List updated with eight hazardous chemicals”, ECHA/NR/21/20, 8th July 2021 https://echa.europa.eu/-/candidate-list-updated-with-eight-hazardous-chemicals