ECHA Report Shows REACH Authorization Requirement Improves Chemical Substitution Efforts

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recently published a report of its evaluation of the socioeconomic impacts of REACH authorization. This blog post reviews the authorization process and looks at several of the report’s principal findings.

Authorization Process

As outlined by the ECHA, the authorization process for chemicals includes three distinct phases:

  • Phase 1: Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs)
  • Phase 2: Recommendation for Authorization List Inclusion
  • Phase 3: Authorization Application
  • Phase 1 – General Steps
    • Member States indicate their intention to propose the chemical to be classified as an SVHC.
    • Corresponding SVHC dossier is prepared.
    • Comments and additional information on the proposal are provided by relevant interested parties.
    • Substance is added to the Candidate List, assuming no comments debate its suitability for identification as an SVHC.
  • Phase 2 – General Steps
    • Candidate List substances are reviewed to determine prioritized potential inclusion in the Authorization List.
    • Corresponding substances are proposed for inclusion via draft recommendation.
    • Draft recommendation is submitted for consultation and comments.
    • Based upon comments received on it, an opinion on the recommendation is issued by the Member State Committee.
    • Recommendation is sent to the European Commission by the ECHA.
  • Phase 3 – General Steps
    • Application for authorization is prepared and submitted to the ECHA.
    • Consultation is initiated on potential alternative substances, and parties may submit relevant information on them.
    • Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Committee for Socio-economic Assessment (SEAC) issue opinion(s).
    • Decision is prepared by the European Commission and adopted by REACH Committee.
    • If authorization is issued, the authorization holders must comply with decision requirements. Authorization is subject to further review when deemed necessary.
    • Review report is submitted by the authorization holder if use of the chemical substance is necessary following the period of review.

Substitution and REACH Authorization

Replacing hazardous substances with safer alternatives, or chemical substitution, is a key aspect of chemical management. It can be particularly useful for many companies wishing to reduce the health and environmental impact of the chemicals they use.

The ECHA’s recent report highlights how authorization has promoted and improved chemical substitution efforts.

  • Use of many of the 54 chemical substances subject to authorization under REACH has ceased within the European Union.
  • Applications for many REACH Authorization List chemicals have yet to be received since the authorization process was first initiated.
  • Evaluation of authorizations reveal that use volumes have decreased by 97% in cases where the use of harmful chemicals has persisted.

These and other key findings are indicative of the occurrence and success of substitution.

More detailed information on the impact and benefits of REACH authorization may be accessed by reviewing the complete report.

Staying Up to Date

To stay up to date on the ECHA’s recent efforts, including those related to REACH Authorization, be sure to visit the ToxPlanet website and blog regularly for information on new developments. Also, be sure to contact us to learn more about our information solutions and to register for a Free Trial.