ECHA has assessed the health and environmental risks posed by intentionally added microplastics and has concluded that an EU-wide restriction would be justified. If adopted, the restriction could result in a reduction in emissions of microplastics of about 400 thousand tonnes over 20 years.
The definition of microplastic is wide, covering small, typically microscopic (less than 5mm), synthetic polymer particles that resist (bio)degradation. The scope covers a wide range of uses in consumer and professional products in multiple sectors, including cosmetic products, detergents and maintenance products, paints and coatings, construction materials and medicinal products, as well as various products used in agriculture and horticulture and in the oil and gas sectors.
ECHA has added six new substances to the Candidate List. All have properties that are either carcinogenic, toxic to reproduction, persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBT), endocrine disrupting, or are very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB). The Candidate List of substances of very high concern (SVHCs)forauthorisation now lists 197 substances.
The six new substances are:
• Pyrene, Phenanthrene and Fluoranthene are PAHs restricted in Germany under the GS mark, but not currently restricted under REACH ANNEX XVII with other PAHs;
• Benzo[k]fluoranthene is a PAH restricted under both the GS mark in Germany and REACH ANNEX XVII with other PAHs;
In order to help consumers make informed choices for safer products while increasing pressure to substitute substances of concern, ECHA is going to establish a new database on the presence of hazardous chemicals in articles by the end of 2019 for waste treatment operators and consumers. The database will comprise information submitted by companies producing, importing or selling articles that contain Candidate List substances. Companies need to submit this information by the end of 2020. The work is based on the revised waste framework directive that entered into force in July 2018. It is part of the EU’s waste legislation package, contributing to the EU's circular economy policy.
ECHA has added eight new SVHCs to the Candidate List following the SVHC identification process with the involvement of the Member State Committee (MSC). Two further substances, TMA and DCHP, have also been added to the list, having been identified as SVHCs by the European Commission due to their respiratory sensitising properties and toxic for reproduction and endocrine-disrupting properties, respectively. The Commission’s decision follows the referral of the MSC opinions on these SVHC proposals in 2016.
Results of a market survey conducted by ECHA shows the volume of bisphenol S (BPS) used as developer in thermal paper manufactured in the EU doubled between 2016 and 2017. The market share of BPS-based thermal papers is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, and in particular after 2 January 2020, when BPA can no longer be used in thermal paper in the EU.
In an EU/EEA-wide project of ECHA’s Enforcement Forum, inspectors found hundreds of consumer products with illegal amounts of restricted chemicals. Every fifth toy inspected contained high levels of restricted phthalates.
ECHA has added seven new substances of very high concern (SVHC) to the Candidate List and updated the entry for bisphenol A (BPA) following the SVHC identification process with the involvement of the Member State Committee (MSC). New substances include Chrysene, Benz[a]anthracene, Cadmium nitrate, Cadmium hydroxide, Cadmium carbonate, etc. The BPA entry was updated to reflect an additional reason for inclusion due to its endocrine disrupting properties causing adverse effects to the environment.