The EU published finalised guidance on the authorisation process under the REACH chemicals regime in early February, clearing the way for the first authorisations.1
The first six substances of very high concern (SVHC) should be officially added to the authorisation list in the next few weeks (ENDS Report 432, p 24).
Each has a sunset date, after which any firm wishing to use it must seek authorisation from the European Commission.
Authorisations will only be granted where a firm can show it has adequate controls in place to protect health and the environment, or if the applicant can show the socio-economic benefits outweigh the risks of continued use and there are no alternatives (ENDS Report 424, pp 36-40).
There has been a long-running debate over the need for a substitution plan. The final version of the guidance requires applicants to analyse alternatives and submit a substitution plan if applicable. This applies in any case for authorisation and could make it harder for applicants to win authorisations through the adequate control route.
Certain uses are exempt from authorisation including scientific research, use in medicines and motor fuels.
• Firms that buy a chemical affected by the first REACH registration deadline last November should not expect to see an official registration number for the substance for some months, says the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) in an advice note on REACH communications.2
The new registration number can be communicated in the substance’s safety data sheets (SDS) and adding it is not vital enough to trigger an SDS update, says CEFIC.
There is also no need for firms to buy articles to request official confirmation from suppliers on the lack of SVHCs in them, says CEFIC (ENDS Report 428, pp 27-28). Existing communication channels are enough to alert customers to the presence of SVHCs.