First REACH list published

Regulators have published their first list of hazardous chemicals that could be placed under the strictest controls by European law.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has included 15 substances so far on its Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVCH).

The agency is responsible for implementing the REACH regulations, which are intended to improve the policing of dangerous chemicals in Europe (see related story).

Businesses were warned that the inclusion of substances on the list could mean increased responsibilities for them.

The ECHA’s executive director Geert Dancet said: “All companies should take note of the Candidate List.

“It is critical they know that the inclusion of the substances in the list generates immediate new legal obligations for the communication in the supply chain.”

A coalition of environmental, health, consumer and women’s interest groups said the list was a vital tool to speed up the phasing out of hazardous chemicals.

But they called on member states and the European Commission to recommend more substances to be included on the list.

In a statement, the coalition – which includes Greenpeace, WCEF and CHEM Trust – said: “It is a drop in the ocean when compared to the hundreds of well-known dangerous substances present in products used every day across Europe.”

They added: “Only six EU member states and Norway have so far put forward chemicals for the Candidate List.”

Under the regulations, companies making products which use substances on the list must now start providing customers with information about the chemicals and to reassure them they are being used safely.

From December 2011, producers and importers will have to notify the ECHA about any products they deal with which contain substances on the list.

The ECHA said the list will be updated when more substances have been identified. The current list can be viewed here.

Kate Martin

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