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Nearly 300 chemicals identified as candidates for regulatory action

ECHA/NR/21/13

In 2020, ECHA assessed around 1 900 registered chemicals in groups. 290 of these may be candidates for further regulatory risk management at EU level if their hazards are confirmed.

Helsinki, 21 April 2021 – ECHA’s third report on its Integrated Regulatory Strategy gives the latest on the Agency’s work to identify and manage chemicals that may pose risks to people and the environment, as well as recommendations to authorities and industry on managing the risks.

Last year, ECHA continued addressing groups of structurally similar substances instead of assessing each chemical individually. This group approach boosted the total number of chemicals assessed in 2020 to around 1 900 – which is twice as many as in 2019 and ten times the amount screened annually between 2014 and 2018.

From the group assessments concluded in 2020, 290 chemicals were identified as candidates for further EU regulatory risk management. Most of these will, however, require more data to be generated and confirmation of hazard before any actions can start.

Harmonised classification is often a prerequisite for risk management actions under REACH or other EU legislation. There are over 100 substances identified, which based on currently available information, would warrant harmonised classification, but which have so far not been picked up by authorities. A lack of harmonised classification may delay risk management actions by companies or authorities.

The group assessments have also shown that, based on the hazard and use information currently available, there is presently no need for further risk management at EU level for about two thirds of the substances assessed.

The progress made in clarifying the need for regulatory action for all registered substances above one tonne, can be followed through the chemical universe.

Recommendations

While ECHA will continue working on groups of substances and optimising its group approach, it is important that:

  • Member States ensure adequate resources and initiate regulatory risk management for substances that require further action without delay.
  • Member States intensify collaboration with each other to maximise the outcome of their work.
  • Industry makes use of programmes developed to help them to review and update data in their REACH registration dossiers. The updates must be done proactively and not only after authorities take regulatory action.

Background

ECHA’s Integrated Regulatory Strategy aims to accelerate data generation, identification of groups of substances of concern, and regulatory action. It does so by providing a setup where different regulatory processes can be coherently, effectively and efficiently used, and by encouraging collaboration between ECHA, Member States and the European Commission.

ECHA has created a mapping tool of all registered substances called the chemical universe in which each substance is assigned to a pool that indicates the regulatory actions already initiated or under consideration for that substance. It also identifies those substances for which the need for suitable regulatory actions still needs to be determined.

The goal is to clarify by 2027 which registered substances are a high priority for regulatory risk management or data generation, and which are currently a low priority for further regulatory action.


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