European positive lists

Any starting substance, composition or constituent used to manufacture a material that comes into contact with drinking water between the water source and the tap will need to be included in the European positive lists, as stated in the revised Drinking Water Directive. After the tap, materials in contact with the water are managed under food safety regulations.

There will be separate positive lists for different types of materials that come into contact with drinking water (organic, cementitious, metallic, enamels and ceramic or other inorganic materials). The use of starting substances, compositions and constituents included in the lists may be limited by specific conditions. Alternatively, limits may be set on the concentration of a substance in the water that leaves the tap.

Establishing the first European positive lists

Member States are asked to notify ECHA of any existing national positive lists, other national provisions and related documents, such as risk assessment reports, by 12 July 2021. Based on this information, ECHA will compile the first European positive lists and send them to the European Commission. The European Commission will decide on the adoption of the lists at the latest by 12 July 2025.

Based on the hazardous properties of substances and the quality of the related risk assessments, ECHA will recommend expiry dates for each entry on the first positive lists. In addition, transitional provisions may be included.

Reviewing and maintaining the first European positive lists

Each entry on the first positive lists will receive an expiry date. If a company is interested in keeping a starting substance, composition or constituent on the lists, they will need to send a review application to ECHA by the expiry date. The Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) will review and form opinions on those starting substances, compositions and constituents on the first positive lists for which a review application is received.

The Commission will decide based on RAC’s opinion if an entry is kept, amended or removed from the first positive lists. If no review application is sent to ECHA by the set expiry date, the entry will be removed from the positive lists. The review of all entries in the first EU positive lists needs to be completed within 15 years from the adoption of the lists.

If a company wants to add a new substance to the European positive lists, they need to submit an application to ECHA. In addition, Member State authorities can submit a proposal to ECHA to remove an entry from the lists or to update an existing entry, e.g. propose new concentration limits based on new information. RAC will form opinions on these applications and proposals based on which the European Commission will take a decision to regularly update the positive lists.