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Substitution requires all possible support

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

elni Review 2018, Issue 2, pp. 39-46.

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.

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