ECHA’s third report on its Integrated Regulatory Strategy gives the latest on the Agency’s work to identify and manage chemicals that may pose risks to people and the environment, as well as recommendations to authorities and industry on managing the risks.
Last year, ECHA continued addressing groups of structurally similar substances instead of assessing each chemical individually.
This group approach boosted the total number of chemicals assessed in 2020 to around 1,900 – which is twice as many as in 2019 and 10 times the amount screened annually between 2014 and 2018.
From the group assessments concluded in 2020, 290 chemicals were identified as candidates for further EU regulatory risk management.
Most of these will, however, require more data to be generated and confirmed hazard before any actions can start.
Harmonized classification is often a prerequisite for risk management actions under REACH or other EU legislation.
There are more than 100 substances identified, which based on currently available information, would warrant harmonized classification, but which have so far not been picked up by authorities. A lack of harmonized classification may delay risk management actions by companies or authorities.
The group assessments have also shown that, based on the hazard and use information currently available, there is presently no need for further risk management at the EU level for about two-thirds of the substances assessed.
The progress made in clarifying the need for regulatory action for all registered substances above one ton can be followed through the chemical universe.
While ECHA will continue working on groups of substances and optimizing its group approach, it is important that:
- Member States ensure adequate resources and initiate regulatory risk management for substances that require further action without delay;
- Member States intensify collaboration with each other to maximize the outcome of their work;
- Industry makes use of programs developed to help them to review and update data in their REACH registration dossiers. The updates must be done proactively and not only after authorities take regulatory action.