Thursday, 18 September 2008

Short REACH List

The EU Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has said that the first list of hazardous chemicals to be submitted for EU regulatory approval under the new EU REACH regulation on chemicals and their safe use may only contain 12 substances.

Public interest groups and NGOs jointly drafted a REACH SIN (Substitute It Now) list of some 270 substances to be substituted in priority under the REACH regulation. The Member State Committee (MSC) of the ECHA, which is in charge of making the proposals for identification of these substances, has so far identified just 16 for inclusion on the first list. However, the committee has been unable to agree on four of the 16, so the final list, to be published in mid-October, might go down to 12.

These first candidates will be the ones put on a priority list to go through special scrutiny before they are authorised. The priority list will be drafted based on the candidate list and is due to be published in June 2009.

The shortness of the list was blamed on the fact that the process was just starting, the new heavy administrative procedures and scarce resources available for testing chemicals. Meanwhile, a member of the SIN list advisory committee said that all the substances on the SIN list "are dangerous and deserve to be on the candidate list of REACH".

This seems to be another case of too much to do and too little time. There are clearly a lot of chemicals out there that are damaging us and our environment and were best got rid of, but the decision is not always black and white. I've spoken to hardware manufacturers who feel they are being forced to drop the use of some chemicals when there is no known (or tested) alternative, with the result that the use of equipment could become less safe. They want to conform, but they also want the issues to be aired, which seems fair enough.

So I can see why this is a slow process, but perhaps we just need to cut some short-term corners for our long-term well being.

© The Green IT Review

No comments:

Post a Comment