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ECHA recommends thirteen Substances of Very High Concern for authorisation

ECHA/PR/11/27
Press release
Media enquiries: ECHA Press

The European Chemicals Agency has submitted to the European Commission a recommendation that thirteen Substances of Very High Concern should in future not be used without authorisation. These substances are all classified because of their carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (or a combination thereof) properties. They are used in applications where there is potential for worker exposure.

Helsinki 21 December 2011 - The protection of human health and the environment is at the heart of REACH. Making these thirteen Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) subject to authorisation seeks to ensure that their risks are properly controlled and that the substances are progressively replaced with suitable alternative substances or technologies.

The thirteen substances and their main uses within the scope of authorisation are:

  • Trichloroethylene (carcinogen). A substance mainly used in surface cleaning, in textile scouring, in adhesives and as a heat transfer fluid.
  • Chromium trioxide (carcinogen, mutagen). A substance mainly used for metal finishing and as a catalyst.
  • Acids generated from chromium trioxide and their oligomers (group containing: chromic acid, dichromic acid, oligomers of chromic acid and dichromic acid) (carcinogen). A substance that could be used to replace chromium trioxide in many of its uses.
  • Sodium dichromate (carcinogen, mutagen, toxic for reproduction). A substance mainly used in metal surface treatment.
  • Potassium dichromate (carcinogen, mutagen, toxic for reproduction). A substance mainly used in metal surface treatment and as a processing aid.
  • Ammonium dichromate (carcinogen, mutagen, toxic for reproduction). A substance with currently no uses in the scope of authorisation. It could however be used to replace other chromium(VI) substances.
  • Potassium chromate (carcinogen, mutagen). A substance mainly used in metal surface treatment.
  • Sodium chromate (carcinogen, mutagen, toxic for reproduction). A substance mainly used in metal surface treatment.
  • Cobalt(II) sulphate (carcinogen, toxic for reproduction). A substance mainly used in surface treatment processes and as a water treatment chemical, oxygen scavenger and corrosion inhibitor.
  • Cobalt dichloride (carcinogen, toxic for reproduction). A substance mainly used in surface treatment processes and as a water treatment chemical, oxygen scavenger and corrosion inhibitor.
  • Cobalt(II) dinitrate (carcinogen, toxic for reproduction). A substance mainly used in surface treatment processes and as a water treatment chemical, oxygen scavenger and corrosion inhibitor.
  • Cobalt(II) carbonate (carcinogen, toxic for reproduction). A substance mainly used in fertilisers and in surface treatment processes.
  • Cobalt(II) diacetate  (carcinogen, toxic for reproduction). A substance mainly used as a catalyst and in surface treatment processes.

The final decision on the inclusion of the substances in Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation will eventually be taken by the European Commission following the committee procedure with scrutiny. Then, as of a specific date (called "sunset date") substances on the Authorisation List can only be used within the EU for those uses for which an authorisation has been granted.

Further Information

This is the third time that the Agency recommends substances for authorisation (the first was in June 2009 and the second in December 2010). From its list of candidate substances, ECHA prioritised the thirteen substances in spring this year based on their hazard properties, the volumes used and the likelihood of exposure to humans. The Agency took into account the comments received from interested parties during the public consultation on its recommendation, which took place between mid June and mid September. It also considered the opinion of the Member State Committee, whose majority supported ECHA's conclusion that all thirteen SVHCs should be included in Annex XIV.

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