EU and US EPA to Evaluate Risks of Dozens of Chemicals

Chemical Industry Update

Date: March 05, 2012

Overview

European and American regulatory agencies recently announced that they will evaluate dozens of chemicals for potential risks they may pose to public health and the environment.

On February 29, 2012, the European Chemicals Agency, (ECHA), the European Union agency charged with regulating Europe's sweeping Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals system (REACH), published a list of 90 substances for review. EU member states will evaluate 36 of these substances - including methanol and silicon dioxide - in 2012. The agency plans to evaluate the remaining 54 substances between 2013 and 2014.

This evaluation process has far-reaching implications for both European and non-European businesses. Under the REACH system, companies that manufacture chemical substances or import them into the EU must register with the ECHA. According to an ECHA press release, "Following the evaluation by member states, further information may be requested from the registrants of the substances to clarify the suspected risks." The ECHA may also choose to label many of the 90 substances as "substances of very high concern," thus increasing regulatory burdens on businesses utilizing the chemicals.

In addition, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released a work plan on March 1 listing 83 chemicals or groups of chemicals - including chromium compounds, formaldehyde and vinyl chloride - for which it will conduct risk assessments. The agency plans to complete the assessments by the end of the year, at which time it will determine whether it will seek to regulate, or in some instances further regulate, any of the substances.

Further information regarding these recent regulatory developments can be found on the ECHA and EPA websites.