RAC and SEAC agree on restrictions and authorisations


Helsinki, 13 December 2013 - During the plenary meetings in December 2013, the Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) adopted an opinion on the restriction proposal of lead in consumer articles submitted by Sweden, and the Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) agreed its draft opinion on the same proposal. RAC also agreed on two reference dose-response curves for the carcinogenicity of hexavalent chromium substances and for inorganic arsenic. In addition, both Committees agreed on draft opinions for the first application for authorisation.

Restriction on lead in consumer articles

RAC and SEAC agreed their opinions on Sweden's proposal to restrict lead and its compounds in consumer articles that can be placed in the mouth by small children. Lead is used in metal alloys, pigment dyes and as a stabiliser in plastic, for example, in buttons, zippers, accessories and other clothing items, interior decorations, and articles for sports and leisure.
RAC concluded that a risk is identified for small children as their central nervous systems, in particular IQ is affected if they mouth such articles that contain lead. SEAC concluded that the restriction is justified and proportionate with the scope and exemptions as specified in their draft opinion. SEAC agreed on its draft opinion by majority.

The 60-day long public consultation on the SEAC draft opinion will be launched still in December, including three specific questions to help SEAC finalise its work. SEAC plans to adopt its final opinion in March 2014.

Reference dose-response curves for chromium(VI-) and inorganic arsenic-containing substances

RAC agreed on dose-response relationships for the carcinogenicity of hexavalent chromium substances and of inorganic arsenic substances. While RAC will use these risk estimates to evaluate applications for authorisation in a predictable and transparent manner they are not legally binding.

Working Group established to develop how SEAC would evaluate the restrictions and applications for authorisation of PBT and vPvB substances

Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative (vPvB) substances will be subject to restriction or authorisation in the coming years. SEAC agreed to establish a working group in developing a consistent approach to  evaluate  these cases, in particular with regard to their human health and environmental impacts. Some members of RAC will provide their expertise to the group. Also other external expertise may be used.

First application for authorisation for DEHP

The first application for authorisation concerned the use of DEHP in the processing of a stop-off formulation used during the diffusion bonding and manufacture of aero engine fan blades. RAC and SEAC agreed their first draft opinions for this application. The draft opinions have been sent to the applicant for possible comments, and thereafter they will be finally adopted by the two Committees.