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Environment

EU lists Chemicals of Concern

by Patricia Layman Short
November 3, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 44

Following submissions from various European Union member countries, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has put 15 chemicals on its candidate list of “substances of very high concern.” The list is part of the EU’s new regulatory program under the Registration, Evaluation & Authorization of Chemicals (REACH). “The inclusion of the substances in the list generates immediate new legal obligations” for companies producing, marketing, and using them, ECHA Executive Director Geert Dancet says. As of Dec. 1, 2011, a producer has to notify ECHA when a product contains more than 0.1% by weight of a substance on the candidate list, or when use totals more than 1 metric ton per year. Companies must also provide sufficient information on the safe use of the chemical or product to customers and consumers who request it. Inclusion on this list, some project, will encourage producers to develop more benign replacement chemicals. Publication of the list is “a welcome start, but a drop in the ocean,” given “the hundreds of well-known dangerous substances present in products used every day across Europe,” according to a statement released by a coalition of environmental and consumer public interest groups.

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