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Industry falls short of supplying EU with all required safety information for chemicals

Toxicity data was most frequently missing type of information during past 10 years

by Cheryl Hogue
March 5, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 10

Chemical manufacturers and importers have failed to supply all required safety information for some substances when registering them for use in the European Union during the past decade, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) says.

Most of the missing data was related to reproductive and prenatal developmental toxicity, mutagenicity or genotoxicity, and long-term aquatic toxicity, ECHA says in a Feb. 28 report. Since the agency began operating in 2008, ECHA has sent nearly 2,600 requests to companies asking them to furnish additional information that is required by the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals law, known as REACH. In 2017, ECHA checked 222 registration documents, most of them regarding chemicals that raised concerns about their possible toxicity and with potential for widespread exposure. The agency ended up asking for more information about 151 of these substances, saying that the missing data were essential to demonstrate safe uses of the materials, according to the report.

“We will continue our efforts to ensure that industry has the data they need to safely use their substances. This also improves safety for consumers,” says Bjorn Hansen, ECHA executive director.

As of the end of 2017, some 12,000 companies had registered more than 17,000 unique chemicals under REACH, the report says. All substances that are manufactured in or imported into the EU in amounts greater than 1 metric ton per year must be registered under REACH by May 31.


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