Four chemicals used in manufacturing may soon be banned in the European Union, following their inclusion on a list of substances of very high concern.
These are chemicals or compounds that may have serious effects on human health or the environment and as such may be restricted by the EU’s primary chemical law, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals or REACH.
The four substances, used in the manufacturing of chemicals, plastic products and lubricants, are:
- 4,4’-isopropylidenediphenol (bisphenol A; BPA)
- Nonadecafluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) and its sodium and ammonium salts
- 4-heptylphenol, branched and linear [substances with a linear and/or branched alkyl chain with a carbon number of 7 covalently bound predominantly in position 4 to phenol, covering also UVCB- and well-defined substances which include any of the individual isomers or a combination thereof]
Although REACH applies only to products sold in the EU, US and other global businesses are affected because REACH compliance throughout the supply chain is required to do business in Europe.
The EU’s list of substances of very high concern now includes 173 chemicals and compounds.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has identified these four new substances as candidates for the final authorization listing. If they are placed on the authorization list, ECHA will set a deadline to control their use, reduce their risks the human health, and to seek a safer alternative substance. After the sunset date, companies would need to seek permission to continue using them.
The REACH news comes as the EPA has been turning out several chemical regulations during President Obama’s final days in office.
These include proposals to ban toxic chemicals used in paint strippers and vapor degreasing under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act and rules that clarify the process for evaluating chemicals that may pose health and environmental risks. Three of these process rules would requires the agency to look at chemicals that were grandfathered in under old TSCA law.
The agency also finalized the nation’s first-ever federal nanoscale chemical rule that will require manufacturers and companies that import or process nanomaterials to report certain information to the EPA.
Additionally, some facilities that store chemicals will soon be required to adhere to stricter EHS guidelines under a rule finalized by the EPA that amends its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations.
Manufacturers say the updated RMP rules will “add burdensome and often duplicative requirements on manufacturers” and that the new compliance hurdles aren’t likely to improve safety.
The EPA, however, says the finalized amendments will help avoid accidents, such as the explosions at the Chevron Richmond refinery in 2012 and at West Texas Fertilizer in 2013.