Put the Chemical Strategy to work and the toxic 38 to rest

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A little over a decade ago, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) started to suggest that certain chemicals should be carefully regulated. ECHA recommended that the chemicals, all so called Substances of Very High Concern, should be put on the REACH Authorization List, also known as Annex XIV – which is basically the graveyard for toxic chemicals.

Chemicals on the authorization list require, well, authorization to be used and even then, you’re only allowed to use them for a limited amount of time. In the end, the decision to move chemicals to the authorization list is in the hands of the Commission. The problem is that not much is happening at their end.

Today, there are several chemicals ready and recommended for the authorization list, yet no decision has been made. ECHA started to make suggestions back in 2009 (the year iPhone 3 was launched, which might give you an idea how long it has been), and there are still 38 substances waiting to be put on the list. Some of them were suggested in the very beginning, meaning that they have been waiting for inclusion for 11 years!

“So? What’s all the fuzz about?” you might think. “These chemicals are probably produced in low volumes for rare industrial uses only.” Well, think again.

Looking through the list we find, for example, BPA and NMP. These two are high volume chemicals that can be found in many everyday consumer products.



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