- Substitution – safer chemicals, benefits for business
- Public consultation: tell us about safer alternatives
- Promoting safer alternatives for biocidal products
- Denmark advises on how to limit phthalates of concern
- Chemicals in our life - check ECHA's website
- Chromium-free leather is good for business, consumers and the environment
- Know your chemicals, know your customers
- Thomas Regout - a case of sustainable entrepreneurship
- Murano glass: substituting to stay in business
- Thinking big about substitution
- Guest column: Finding safer chemicals - the American way
- Guest column: Dealing with hexavalent chromium compounds in electroplating
- National helpdesk promoting innovation
- European-wide network supports innovative SMEs
- Funding opportunities for SMEs
- NGO view on substitution: Downstream users can put pressure on their suppliers
Send your feedback to:echanewsletter (at) echa.europa.eu
Päivi Jokiniemi and Paul Trouth
One of the main objectives of the European chemicals legislation is to protect human health and the environment both for present and future generations. Replacing harmful chemicals with safer alternatives plays an important role in achieving this aim.
You can play an essential role in substituting substances of very high concern (SVHCs) with safer alternatives. You are encouraged to send information to ECHA during the public consultation which takes place after an application for authorisation to use an SVHC has been submitted.
Clear exclusion criteria, a process for candidates for substitution and simplified authorisation are some of the examples of how the Biocidal Products Regulation encourages applicants to choose safer active substances for biocidal products.
Communicating about safety
The Danish guidance targets those companies who market products for businesses or consumers. It primarily aims to help industry and retailers to phase out the four phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP and DIBP), which are currently on the REACH Authorisation List before the national ban takes effect in 2015, but also has a more general purpose, which makes it useful for phasing out other phthalates not yet subject to authorisation.
News from ECHA
To help raise awareness about the safe use of chemicals in our daily lives, ECHA launched its revamped 'Chemicals in our life' web pages for the World Consumer Rights' Day on 15 March.
People and perspectives
The oldest and most common tanning methods in the leather industry worldwide are chrome-based. A frequently used form is trivalent chromium. Under certain conditions, it can oxidise into hexavalent chromium, which is known for its negative health and environmental impact.
The performance coatings business area at Dutch multinational AkzoNobel has 25 years of experience in finding safer alternatives to potentially hazardous chemicals used in industrial paints.
For Thomas Regout International B.V., a downstream user manufacturing telescopic slides, it is important to find a balance between using safe and sustainable materials and managing a profitable business. ECHA Newsletter spoke with Kees Verspaandonk and Peter Stroucken to find out how REACH and CLP advance sustainable development in the company.
Venetian glassmakers have been using arsenic trioxide since the late 1600s. It has, however, been classified under the CLP Regulation as a carcinogen and as toxic. It is due to be banned on 21 May 2015 for all uses except those that receive an authorisation from the European Commission. ECHA Newsletter takes a look at the consequences of this ban and the potential solutions for the glassmaking industry of Murano, Italy.
Gemini Adhesives Ltd is a small British SME manufacturing adhesives for the construction industry. Their products are used to adhere PVC* profiles to the edges of resilient flooring in environments such as hospitals and schools to allow thorough cleaning. A worrying recent trend has seen shrinkages and a breakdown of the adhesive bonds with failed areas becoming harbours for potentially dangerous microbes, and requiring major repairs. It was discovered that phthalate softeners were the cause and Gemini found a viable solution - phthalate free profiles.
A growing number of companies are looking for safer chemicals to use in their products, for a variety of reasons - to achieve corporate sustainability goals, meet consumer demand, reduce liability, avoid future supply issues due to new regulations, or satisfy current regulatory requirements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Design for the Environment (DfE) Alternatives Assessment Program helps industries to identify and evaluate safer chemicals, and offers a basis for informed decision-making when replacing chemicals of concern. Chemical choices made based on these assessments can minimise the potential for unintended consequences that might occur in moving from a potentially problematic chemical to a poorly understood alternative, which could be even more hazardous.
In electroplating, hexavalent chromium compounds form the basis for various processes. These processes are functional chrome plating (hard chrome plating), chrome plating for decorative applications with functional aspects (bright chrome plating or decorative chrome plating), etching in the pretreatment of plastics and chromate conversion coating on zinc layers or aluminium. In chrome plating and plastic etching, the final product leaving the electroplating process does not contain any hexavalent chromium compounds. Hexavalent chromium is only contained in the layers of conventional chromate conversion coating. In the other processes, chromium layers are reduced to metal. Metallic chromium (Cr 0) is considered non-hazardous.
The Luxembourgish REACH and CLP helpdesk supports companies not only in the implementation of the chemicals legislation, but also by providing concrete advice and tools to the national industry, mainly downstream users and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), facing legal pressures to look for safer chemicals.
The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is the largest European network of business support organisations. It helps small companies to make the most of their market opportunities by matching companies to work together and guiding them to financial resourcing. SMEs faced with business challenges arising from the chemicals legislation can benefit from the support of the network.
European Union programmes have already provided funding and will continue to support innovation such as the substitution of hazardous chemicals under the new multiannual financial framework of the EU (2014-2020).
Public interest and environmental organisations active in the chemicals field play an important role in awareness raising, pressuring policy makers to act in the interest of their supporters and guarding the implementation of the legislation. What do these organisations think of substitution and innovation under REACH and CLP? ECHA Newsletter asked the views of three NGO representatives.
Biocidal Products Committee:
26 February-1 March
Committee for Risk Assessment:
Committee for Socio-Economic
18-22 March (tentative)
Management Board meeting:
Member State Committee:
13-17 May (tentative)