Recently, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) updated the progress of restriction proposal for chromium VI and phthalates. Both restrictions were proposed by Denmark and it is intended to adopt restriction as a risk management option to address the exposure of chemicals. The details of the progress are described as below. Picture 1 shows the progress of both proposals.
Picture 1: Progress of Restriction Proposals for chromium VI and phthalates under REACH Annex XVII
Restriction Proposal of Phthalates in plasticised materials used indoors
Upon the completion of the 2nd public consultation, the Social-economic Analysis Committee (SEAC) under the ECHA concludes that the phthalates restriction is not justified on 7 December 2012. The SEAC Committee matches with the opinions of Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and the current risk assessment measures are already sufficient to protect the public health. This is the first time that the restriction proposal is not supported by the SEAC and the RAC.
Denmark proposed to the ECHA that two types of articles that contain Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalates (DEHP), Dibutyl phthalates (DBP), Benzyl butyl phthalate(BBP) and Diisobutyl phthalate(DIBP) in a combined concentration greater than 0.1% by weight of any plasticised material including articles intended for use indoors and articles that may come into direct contact with the skin or mucous membranes. Upon receiving the comments from both Committees the ECHA may submit comments to the European Commission (EC) and the EC may decide whether this restriction is necessary.
Restriction Proposal of chromium VI in leather articles On 14 December 2012, the ECHA launched the 2nd public consultation on the restriction proposal for chromium VI compounds. The consultation will be completed on 12 February 2013. This restriction was proposed by Denmark to ban leather articles containing chromium VI from placing on the market. The leather articles should not contain chromium VI in concentration equal to or higher than 3 mg/kg.
After the 1st public consultation, both the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and Socio-economic Assessment Committee (SEAC) of ECHA support this restriction proposal but there is some modification to enhance the enforceability. According to the draft opinions adopted by both Committees, the wordings of “direct and prolonged or repetitive contact” are deleted. The new proposed scope of restriction covers all leather articles coming into contact with the skin, not just direct and prolonged skin contact. The leather articles for which there are relatively short contact is included. In addition, EN ISO 17075:2007 is explicitly stated as a testing method proposed to quantify chromium VI in leather. The update of changes is listed in Table A. Upon the completion of 2nd public consultation, SEAC will finalize its opinions and the ECHA will submit the RAC and SEAC comments to the EC for the final decision on the restriction.
Table A: Comparison of changes in restriction proposal