The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is consulting on plans to add 11 chemicals to the REACH regime’s list of ‘substances of very high concern’ (SVHCs).1
Companies importing, making or selling products containing SVHCs are subject to extra rules on information disclosure (ENDS Reports 423, pp 55-56 and 418, p 55).
The categorisation of a substance as an SVHC can also be a first step towards the REACH authorisation procedure, under which every use of a chemical must be separately approved.
There are 38 SVHCs on the list so far. The first six authorisations were agreed in September.
The chemicals proposed as SVHCs have been put forward by Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. They are: Four types of cobalt, all of which are carcinogenic and toxic to reproduction. These have various uses including as intermediates in the manufacture of other substances, in the making of catalysts, pigments and batteries, and as surface treatments and feed additives. Three forms of trichlorobenzene. It is classed as being of ‘equivalent concern’ to persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances and a REACH restriction prevents it from being used as anything other than a chemical intermediate. 2-Methoxyethanol and 2-ethoxyethanol. Used as intermediates, solvents and, in the case of 2-methoxyethanol, a fuel additive. They are toxic to reproduction. Chromium trioxide and ‘acids generated from chromium trioxide and their oligomers’. Chromium trioxide is used for metal finishing and as a fixing agent in water-based wood preservatives. It is mutagenic and carcinogenic.