Skip to main content

Substitution requires all possible support

Antonia Reihlen, Heidrun Fammler, Arne Jamtrot, Martyn Futter and Jana Simanovska

elni Review 2018, Issue 2, pp. 39-46. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2018.008

In its Art. 57, the EU chemicals regulation REACH lists specific hazardous properties that are of particular concern for human health and/or the environment. Substances which have been demonstrated by Member State authorities or by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to fulfil these criteria are identified as substances of very high concern (SVHCs). These substances are included on the list of candidates for authorisation under REACH, the ultimate aim of which is their eventual phase-out where technically and economically feasible. Although the awareness of chemical risks has increased in general and authorities have intensified their support to companies, the rate of substitution of hazardous substances is still criticised as too slow.
In October 2018 an international seminar was jointly organised by three EU projects dealing with the reduction of risks from hazardous chemicals: “LIFE Fit for REACH” provides specific support on substitution to Baltic companies; the “NonHazCity” InterReg project identifies emission sources of hazardous substances, builds awareness and capacity in chemicals in cities and leads to emission reductions from small scale sources. The third project “LIFE AskREACH” aims at developing a smartphone app to improve communication of information on SVHCs in articles under REACH to consumers and improving related supply chain communication and awareness. At the seminar, opportunities to support substitution and overcome current barriers were discussed by experts from the EC, ECHA, Member States and different organisations, including academia, NGOs and the industry. This article describes the background of the discussions and the conclusions from the activities in the three projects, including the aforementioned joint seminar. It also contributes to the discussions on options to foster substitution in general.

Access full article

References

  1. Management International 2003(41):56-76(21) March 2003.
  2. Regulation (EC) no 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC, OJ 2006 L 396/1.
  3. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European economic and social Committee Commission General Report on the operation of REACH and review of certain elements Conclusions and Actions {SWD(2018) 58 final}.
  4. Directive 2004/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work (Sixth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC), OJ 2004 L 158/50.
  5. Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control), OJ 2010 L 334/17.
  6. Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, OJ 2000 L 327/1.
  7. Lenhardt, U. and Beck, D.: “Prevalence and quality of workplace risk assessments – Findings from a representative company survey in Germany” in Safety Science Volume 86, July 2016, Pages 48-56. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2016.02.017.
  8. Implementation report on the OSH directives of 2015, EU Commission, DG Employment: “Evaluation of the Practical Implementation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Directives in EU Member States”, Brussels, 2015.
  9. ISO 14024:2018(en) Environmental labels and declarations — Type I environmental labelling — Principles and procedures.
  10. EMAS: European Eco-management and Auditing Scheme. ISO: International Organization for Standardization.