PBT Expert Group

The PBT Expert Group focuses on PBT substances, which are substances that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, whereas vPvB substances are very persistent and very bioaccumulative.

These properties are further defined by the PBT/vPvB criteria in Annex XIII to the REACH Regulation.


The PBT/vPvB concern

Substances that persist for long periods of time in the environment and have a high potential to accumulate in biota are of specific concern since their long-term effects are rarely predictable. After entering the environment once, the exposure to these substances is very difficult to reverse by the cessation of emission. Protection of pristine remote areas from PBT/vPvB substances is particularly difficult as these substances do not degrade near emission sources but may be gradually transported into remote areas. For PBT/vPvB substances a "safe" concentration in the environment cannot be established using the methods currently available. A particular concern with vPvB substances is that even if no adverse effects can be demonstrated in laboratory testing, long-term effects might be possible since high but unpredictable levels may be reached in humans or the environment over extended time periods.


Establishment and role

The PBT Expert Group provides informal, non-binding scientific advice on questions related to the identification of PBT and vPvB properties of chemicals. This advice does not anticipate or interfere with decision-making under the REACH Regulation, which exclusively remains the responsibility of the competent bodies designated in the REACH Regulation.

The PBT Expert Group was established in 2012 with the support of CARACAL competent authorities for REACH and CLP. The expert group is coordinated and hosted by ECHA. Advice of the PBT Expert Group on issues in relation to PBT/vPvB assessment may be requested by the participants of the PBT Expert Group, EU Member State competent authorities under the REACH Regulation and the Biocidal Products Regulation, and ECHA. 



The expert group will provide informal and non-binding scientific advice on questions related to the identification of of P, vP, B, vB and T properties of chemicals and, in particular, on:

  • Questions related to screening methods/activities to identify PBT/vPvB substances;
  • Questions related to the development of integrated approaches to testing and assessment for PBT/vPvB properties;
  • Feedback and recommendations on complex (specific/generic) scientific issues related to information and (tiered) testing needs for potential PBTs/vPvBs;
  • Specific questions on the interpretation of test data as well as other relevant information in relation to the identification of P, vP, B, vB and T properties (e.g. during substance evaluation, dossier evaluation, the development of an SVHC dossier and/or evaluation of biocidal active substances).

As the focus of the scientific work of the group should be on identification of P, vP, B, vB and T properties, the discussions may well cover REACH Article 57(f) cases of equivalent concern to PBTs or vPvBs.



Nominated experts from following organisations are participating currently the PBT Expert Group:

  • EU Member State Competent Authorities
  • European Commission (DG Enterprise, DG Environment, Joint Research Centre)
  • Stakeholder organisations
    • The European Chemicals Industry Council (CEFIC)
    • The oil companies' European organisation for environment, health and safety in refining and distribution (CONCAWE)
    • European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC)
    • European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
  • Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland (FOEN)

Experts nominated by the EU Member State competent authorities, the European Commission, and ECHA's Accredited Stakeholder Organisations can participate in the meetings. For further information on the nomination procedure, please contact ECHA at: pbt_wg (at) echa.europa.eu.

If you are a representative of an EU Member State Competent Authority or a representative of an Accredited Stakeholder Organisation, please, contact ECHA pbt_wg (at) echa.europa.eu for further information on the nomination procedure for the PBT Expert Group.



In its meetings, the PBT Expert Group discusses specific substance cases that are mainly suggested to the agenda by the participants from the EU Member State competent authorities carrying out PBT/vPvB assessments and needing advice. The overview of the outcome of case discussions of the previous meetings can be found below.

The PBT Expert Group contributes to the development and improvement of screening approaches and criteria for searching the ECHA databases for potential PBT/vPvB substances. The group is involved in assessing the screening results and selecting those substances for which a more in-depth assessment of their potential PBT/vPvB properties is required.

Additionally, scientific development in fields relevant for regulatory PBT assessment is monitored by the PBT Expert Group and the need for updating the current assessment approaches and the PBT-related guidance in the light of such developments considered.


Meeting Dates and Reports


The PBT Expert Group meets three times per year. Meeting dates for PBT Expert Group meetings:


Meeting Date Report
Meetings 2019
23rd Meeting 29-30 October (TBC)  
22nd Meeting 03-04 September (TBC)  
21st Meeting 14-15 May (TBC)  
Meetings 2018
20th Meeting 24-25 October Download [PDF]
19th Meeting 25-26 September Download [PDF]
18th Meeting 8-9 May Download [PDF]
Meetings 2017
17th Meeting 2-3 November Download [PDF]
16th Meeting 28-29 September Download [PDF]
15th Meeting 23-24 May Download [PDF]
Meetings 2016
14th Meeting 22-23 November Download [PDF]
13th Meeting 11-12 October N/A
12th Meeting 10-11 May N/A



Earlier meetings
  • 2015
    • 11th Meeting 17-18 November 2015
    • 10th Meeting 29-30 September 2015
    • 9th Meeting 12-13 May 2015
  • 2014
    • 8th Meeting 2-3 December 2014
    • 7th Meeting 22-23 September 2014
    • 6th Meeting 28-29 April 2014
  • 2013
    • 5th Meeting 28-29 October 2013
    • 4th Meeting 28-29 May 2013
    • 3rd Meeting 12-13 March 2013
  • 2012
    • 2nd Meeting 13-15 November 2012
    • 1st Meeting 21-22 February 2012

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