ESMA’s Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Committee is set to tackle more regulatory challenges, with proposed changes to the REACH and CLP Regulations. Changes to key chemical legislation are considered necessary to progress the goals of the European Commission Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. The Chemical Strategy for Sustainability announced in the European Green Deal is being promoted as the first stage in a process to achieve zero pollution for a ‘toxic-free environment’.
A major goal of the Strategy is to address the health and environmental challenges caused by harmful chemicals, putting in place regulatory actions to ‘make chemicals safe and sustainable by design’.
A toxic free environment includes prohibiting the use of the ‘most’ harmful chemicals in consumer products such as toys, childcare articles, cosmetics, detergents, food contact materials and textiles unless the chemicals are proven to be essential.
All chemicals should be used more safely and sustainably. Chemicals should deliver necessary benefits without harming the planet, current and future generations. New chemicals and materials should be created with the lowest impact on climate, resource use, ecosystems and biodiversity.
Many of the concepts need to be developed into defined criteria and concrete policies e.g. ‘essential use’. The EU legal framework is to be strengthened on the ‘no data, no market’ principle and regulatory control simplified.
The latest report on the work of the European Chemical Agency’s (ECHA) Regulatory strategy for addressing substances of concern has been published with some interesting data. A new approach to screening structurally similar substances (rather than individual substances) resulted in twice the number of substances being screened in 2020.
Approximately 1900 chemicals were assessed, with 290 identified as candidates for further regulatory risk management, though more hazard data is needed before further action can be progressed.
More than 100 substances were identified as meeting the criteria for harmonised classification and labelling that had not previously been considered.
The Regulatory Strategy on REACH, CLP and other regulatory processes is set out the ECHA Infographic:
The European Commission has also recently published two Inception Impact Assessments (Roadmaps), one covering the REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) Regulation:
And the other on revision of the CLP Regulation: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12975-Revision-of-EU-legislation-on-hazard-classification-labelling-and-packaging-of-chemicals_en
The consultations are open until 1 June. ESMA may respond on behalf of members if there is a demand.