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Posted on 15/09/2015 in News 32 2015
Regulatory news

ECHA (European Chemical Agency) has recommended to add 15 substances to the REACH “authorisation list” (list of substances banned in Europe except in specifically licensed cases). The “recommendations” are effectively substances pending ECHA formal decision as to addition or not to the “authorisation list”. This adds to 12 substances already awaiting decision.

The 15 added substances include four boron substances (boric acid; disodium tetraborate, anhydrous; diboron trioxide; and tetraboron disodium heptaoxide, hydrate) and the solvent 1-bromopropane (n-propyl bromide). ECHA’s Risk Assessment Committee has also concluded its assessment of DecaBDE, supporting ECHA’s proposal already made to restrict the substance’s use and ECHA has issued a draft “Restriction report” for the substance.

ECHA statement http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/echa-proposes-15-substances-for-authorisation  and recommendation http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/13640/6th_a_xiv_recommendation_01july2015_en.pdf  ECHA Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) conclusions summary 11/6/2015 http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/21774240/Annex_RAC_33.pdf  ECHA Annex V Restriction report (proposal v1.0, 1st August 2015) http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/a3f810b8-511d-4fd0-8d78-8a8a7ea363bc 

Chemicals and the circular economy. The European Union is currently discussing proposals to develop the “circular economy”. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that moving to growth based on recycling and reuse rather than consumption of resources could benefit the EU nearly 1 trillion €/year. Increasing recycling of polymers raises challenges for flame retardants, both to ensure that tomorrow’s polymer-FR combinations are recyclable, and also how to deal with chemicals “from the past” present in polymers in end-of-life products to be recycled today. CHEM Trust (UK), for example, suggests that the circular economy will accelerate development of chemicals with safer toxicity profiles.

EU circular economy policy proposals http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/closing_the_loop_en.htm 

“Growth Within: a circular economy vision for a competitive Europe”, 100 pages, 25th June 2015, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, SUN (Stiftungsfonds für Umweltökonomie und Nachhaltigkeit) http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/news/latest-researchreveals-more-growth-jobs-and-competitiveness-with-a-circulareconomy

CHEM Trust, 19/8/2015 “The Circular economy: To get it right we must address hazardous chemicals “ http://www.chemtrust.org.uk/the-circular-economy-to-get-it-right-we-must-address-hazardous-chemicals/

ECHA finalises restrictions on ammonium salts in cellulose insulation. ECHA’s Socio-Economic Analysis Committee (SEAC) adopted a final Opinion on a Restriction dossier on ammonium salts used as flame retardants in cellulose insulation, extending somewhat the proposed implementation deadline. pinfa input into this decision process (see pinfa Newsletter n° 48) confirming that proposed restrictions made sense, to avoid risks of ammonia gas release in certain conditions (high humidity and temperature, pH) which could cause irritation to the respiratory tract and eyes (e.g. building workers installing insulation in enclosed spaces). pinfa emphasises that ammonium salts are recognized to be non-toxic and have been developed as safer alternatives to previously used chemicals: this operational issue is the only risk with their use, and they have no long-term or chronic toxic effects, are not carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic or impacting on the immune system.

ECHA/NA/15/19, 16/6/2015 “Restriction proposal on ammonium salts” http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/seac-concludes-on-two-restriction-proposals-and-agrees-on-two-draft-opinions-on-applications-for-authorisation

The US Environmental Protection Agency has updated its TCSA (Toxic Substances Control Act) Work Plan, announcing that full risk assessments will be carried out for four halogenated flame retardants: TBB, TBPH, TCEP, HBCD. EPA will also start data collection on 8 other flame retardants.

EPA TCSA Work Plans http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/workplans.html  and http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/riskassess.html  and consultations opened for 60 and 120 days on 12th August 2015 http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/PrePubCopy_15T-0164.pdf 

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