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Paint and coatings companies and their suppliers are to face increased scrutiny by government inspectors charged with ensuring compliance with the European Union’s (EU) chemical control system REACH. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has launched a new online REACH Information Portal for Enforcement (RIPE), which gives inspectors Internet access to key information submitted by companies to ECHA. According to a note from the agency this "facilitates more effective enforcement in the EU”.
Information being transferred includes whether a dossier was submitted; by whom and when; an indication of tonnage supplied; production and use sites; intended uses, information on classification and labelling; and guidance on safe use. Other key information on physicochemical, toxicological and eco-toxicological properties of substances is also available. The portal was developed as a separate REACH information technology service and also helps EU inspectors policing the EU regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures. The new system was developed in co-operation with an EU ‘forum for exchange of information on enforcement’, which liaised with inspectors over their information needs and technical requirements.
Meanwhile, paint and coatings companies have been asked to comment on a joint assessment by three key EU committees on how chemical mixtures should be assessed.
The EU’s scientific committees on consumer safety; health and environmental risks; and emerging and newly identified health risks have concluded chemicals with common uses may have a stronger combined effect than if they were unmixed, including toxicity.
However, mixing chemicals with different uses is not expected to create health risks, if their individual quantities were deemed safe in the first place.
At the European Commission, officials have cleared the proposed acquisition of German chemicals company Evonik’s carbon black business by private equity firms Rhône Capital, of the USA, and Jersey, Channel Islands-based Triton. Brussels approved the deal without condition as this is the funds’ first venture involving carbon black, a pigment in speciality coatings and inks.
And the Commission has released information on the success of an EU-funded research project PHODYE. It developed devices that utilise thin films that change colour and fluoresce on contact with certain gas molecules, creating coatings that could be used to monitor vehicle emissions or provide warnings of the presence of poisonous substances.