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Expansion of ECHA's Chromium VI Restriction Mandate to Encompass Additional Substances


This decision was conveyed through a letter to ECHA on April 29th, following the agency's initial presentation of findings and concerns regarding the restriction's limited focus on chromium trioxide and chromic acid. ECHA's communication to the Commission highlighted the overlapping uses of certain chromium VI substances with the aforementioned compounds, potentially enabling operators to circumvent the restriction by transitioning to these alternatives still within the authorization regime.

The expanded roster now encompasses nine additional Annex XIV substances, each assigned an authorisation list entry number:

  1.     sodium dichromate (18);
  2.     potassium dichromate (19);
  3.     ammonium dichromate (20);
  4.     potassium chromate (21);
  5.     sodium chromate (22);
  6.     dichromium tris(chromate) (28);
  7.     strontium chromate (29);
  8.     potassium hydroxyocta-oxodizincate-dichromate (30); and
  9.     pentazinc chromate octahydroxide (31).

The Commission has urged ECHA to conduct a comprehensive examination to determine whether the risks associated with chromium VI are better mitigated through collective restriction, factoring in aspects like substitution dynamics and the added workload from processing authorization applications.

By the end of last year, these nine substances collectively garnered 79 authorization applications, with the potential for further escalation should operators opt for them to sidestep the impending ban. Notably, chromium trioxide has already accumulated 193 applications, with expectations of over 1,000 more within the next five to ten years.

Furthermore, the Commission has called for the inclusion of substances not originally listed in Annex XIV but deemed susceptible to fostering regrettable substitution, with particular emphasis on barium chromate. However, this extended mandate excludes the three lead chromate entries, commonly used as pigments in paints.

In light of the expanded scope, ECHA has adjusted the timeline, with the restriction proposal now slated for submission by April 11, 2025, instead of the initially planned date of October 4, 2024. Consequently, the adoption timeline, previously projected for September 2026, may face delays.

ECHA will initiate a second call for evidence in June to bolster the proposal's preparation, covering diverse topics such as alternatives to chromium (VI) substances and their utilization in spraying applications. Stakeholders need not resubmit information provided during the first call for evidence, which will be duly considered. Additionally, a webinar scheduled for June 6, 2024, will delve into the primary outcomes of the first call for evidence and outline the supplementary data sought in the second call.

The formulation and evaluation of the restriction proposal by the Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) and the Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) will adhere to the standard REACH restrictions process. ECHA will leverage its accumulated knowledge and expertise from processing authorization applications for these substances during the proposal's preparation.

Source: Adapted from ECHA

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April 3, 2018: EU Commission Releases 10th Anniversary Report on REACH Directive
January 17, 2018: ECHA has added three cadmium compounts of very high concern (SVHCs) to the REACH candidate list
March 26, 2016: ECHA: New Approach on Hazard Assessment for Nanoforms
March 10, 2016: European Commission consults on chemicals legislation outside REACH
March 12, 2014: EU’s proposal to restrict Cr (VI) in leather in final stages
February 4, 2013: ECHA requests comments on expanding REACH restriction on the use of cadmium in plastics 
June 7, 2011: European Commission announces ban on cadmium in plastics
June 22, 2010: Eight New Chemicals for REACH Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern 
March 10, 2010:
ECHA suggests further chemicals for SVHC list

October 9, 2009: REACH: Substances of very high concern
September 18, 2008: REACH Update: List of 300 chemicals of very high concern

last time modified: May 13, 2024

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