Plastic additives initiative

In late 2016, ECHA and 21 industry sector organisations launched a joint project to characterise the uses of plastic additives and the extent to which the additives may be released from plastic articles.

The project, which lasted for two years until December 2018, generated an overview of over 400 additives in plastics used in high volumes in the EU, and looked at how use and exposure information could be used to focus the regulatory work by authorities under REACH. The work included the development of a method for comparing the release potential of different additives.

Companies can use the method to determine which registration dossiers they should update as highest priority and to identify where safe use information communicated down the supply chain needs to be further improved.

An analysis of the project’s impact on the prioritisation of substances by authorities and on registration dossiers’ content and quality will be carried out once the corresponding experience is available.

In response to a request by industry, ECHA has developed a Practical Guide for registrants on how to characterise the uses of additives in plastic materials and how to start estimating the related exposure. The basic principles explained in the Practical Guide are also applicable to other material types, for example rubber or textiles.