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The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) calls for comments on reports proposing restrictions on mercury and phenylmercury


Phenylmercury substances
Norway proposed to restrict five phenylmercury substances. These substances are mainly used as catalysts in the production of polyurethane coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers. The life-cycle of the phenylmercury compounds leads to the release of mercury to the environment.

In the restriction report Norway suggests that these substances should not be manufactured, placed on the market or used as a substance or in mixtures in concentrations above 0.01 % weight by weight. The same concentration limit would apply for the substances in articles or homogenous parts of articles. In order to give time for the replacement of the substances by alternatives, Norway proposes that the restriction take effect 5 years after entry into force of the restriction.

Mercury in measuring devices
At the request of the European Commission, ECHA reviewed the availability of reliable safer alternatives to mercury containing measuring devices. As a result, ECHA has now prepared a restriction report proposing to restrict mercury in several measuring devices that are used in industrial and professional settings (thermometers, sphygmomanometers, barometers, manometers, metering devices for the determination of softening point, pycnometers and strain gauges). Mercury in measuring devices intended for the general public is already restricted. With this proposed restriction, the listed mercury containing measuring devices in industrial and professional use would be prohibited (with some minor derogations) from being imported or placed on the market in the EU after 18 months from the entry into force.

ECHA invites comments on the above restriction report
Interested parties can comment on the proposals and the restriction reports (so called Annex XV reports) via the ECHA website. Comments will be reviewed and taken into account by the ECHA Committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC).The final opinions of the committees on the proposed restrictions are scheduled for September 2011. Based on these opinions, the European Commission will take the decisions whether to introduce additional restrictions into the REACH Regulation.

The Annex XV reports contain the background and justifications for the proposed restrictions. They include the identified risks, information on alternatives, the effectiveness of the restriction in reducing the risks and costs of the restriction.

Although the six-month public consultation concludes on 24 March 2011, the Rapporteurs of RAC and SEAC would appreciate receiving comments by 24 December 2010 to assist them in the detailed discussion of the restriction proposal in January 2011.

Source: ECHA

Related Information

ECHA: Information on the restriction process under the REACH Regulation
ECHA: Information on the restriction report on phenylmercury substances
ECHA: Information on the restriction report on mercury in measuring devices

EVISA : All about phenylmercury compounds
EVISA Brief summary: REACH: Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals 

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last time modified: September 25, 2010


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