EU round up – Seven ingredients added to EU’s list of substances of very high concern

15 February 2012

Paints and coatings companies selling products in the European Union (EU) will have to check whether they are using seven ingredients placed on an EU list of substances of potential very high concern regarding damage to the environment and human health.

They have been added by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and companies will have to notify the agency within six months if more than 0.1% of their paints and coatings’ content includes one or more of these substances. They also have to notify customers of this fact by the end of February.

The substances are: 2,2’-Dichloro-4,4’-methylenedianiline, a polymer and resin curing agent; 4-(1,1,3,3-Tetramethylbutyl)phenol and 4-(1,1,3,3-Tetramethylbutyl) phenol, both adhesives, coatings and inks components; 2-Methoxyaniline, used to make tattoo dyes; bis(2-methoxyethyl) phthalate, used as a plasticiser in polymeric materials and paints, lacquers and varnishes; pentazinc chromate octahydroxide, an ingredient for vehicle and aeronautic/aerospace coatings; potassium hydroxyoctaoxodizincatedichromate, used in vehicle, aeronautic/ aerospace, steel and aluminium coil coatings; and dichromium tris(chromate), used in steel and aluminium coatings.

Meanwhile, ECHA is making further preparations for its next round of chemical registrations, which must be made by May 31, 2013 and covers companies manufacturing or importing chemicals in quantities at or above 100t/yr.
The agency has asked coatings and other chemical companies planning to be lead registrants in groups of businesses submitting joint registrations to alert its officials as soon as possible. ECHA said it would offer "support activities, which includes two lead registrants’ workshops in 2012, a series of webinars and other training opportunities”.

It is also planning to introduce a classification and labelling inventory ensuring that information provided by chemical-based industries in the REACH process will be published in a format that is easily researched.
However, this project has been delayed – it was supposed to have been launched in December but this will now happen in 2012.

A report on successful registrations within REACH has highlighted the widespread use of consultants in this process. An ECHA survey of almost 900 companies concluded: "40% of companies prepared their dossiers with the support of consultants”. The reasons: "limited capacity…or the desire to minimise the administrative burden…”

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