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Policy

EU authorization program credited with safer substitution

by Cheryl Hogue
September 25, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 38

The European Union’s strict controls on certain hazardous substances have led companies to adopt safer substitutes for some of these chemicals, says an analysis by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The EU deems substances to be of very high concern if the government determines they are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction; persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic; or very persistent and very bioaccumulative. Once chemicals receive this designation, they are candidates for—and often end up on—the EU’s Authorisation List of chemicals that can be used only if the European Commission grants permission. The ECHA report concludes that the costs of seeking such authorization and abiding by strict requirements that accompany it have driven companies to seek safer alternatives for some of these chemicals. It adds that no companies have sought permission to use seven of the 43 substances on the Authorisation List. ECHA’s scientific committees have recommended that the EC grant all authorization requests thus far and suggested tight controls for most uses of listed chemicals.

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