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Oct. 7 - EU: Impact of REACHs Very High Concern Candidates

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Recently we discussed the 16 candidates for Very High Concern status under REACH.  In European Chemical Clampdown Reaches Across Atlantic Scientific American discusses the possible implications for U.S. companies:

Hundreds of chemicals likely to be identified by the European Union (E.U.) as "substances of very high concern" are produced throughout the U.S., sometimes in large quantities...

These dangerous chemicals have been identified via the E.U.'s 2007 Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) law, which requires the disclosure of all chemicals sold in the E.U. in quantities of more than one metric ton per year. As it stands, 16 chemicals, including three phthalates, are already on the REACH list as chemicals of concern. And in coming years, the REACH law will require that companies prove the safety of a given chemical before it is allowed to be sold; those chemicals deemed dangerous—or "substances of very high concern" due to associated human health risks—will only be sold with special governmental permission.

Of the 267 chemicals on the potential expanded REACH list compiled by the International Chemical Secretariat in Sweden, two are regulated in some form under U.S. law—asbestos and hexavalent chromium (chromium VI)—and only one third have even been tested by the EPA...

All told, the U.S. manufactures more than one billion pounds (455 million kilograms) of 14 potential REACH-listed chemicals, including two varieties of toluene; 85 more are made in quantities exceeding one million pounds (455,000 kilograms), like the phthalates which have already been regulated in some cases in the E.U.

BASF, Chemtura, Dow, DuPont and Equistar make the most of these suspect chemicals in the U.S., and Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas host operations that manufacture them. Some of the most commonly produced dangerous chemicals include benzene, formaldehyde, styrene, hexane and butadiene...

Another article: How Europe's New Chemical Rules Affect U.S. discusses the possible impact of the 'Substitute it Now' or SIN List:

  • SIN List chemicals are produced or imported in 37 states as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, at as many as 78 sites per state...
  • The number of SIN List chemicals per state varies from 1 to 37.
  • Eight states have at least a dozen SIN List chemicals: New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Kentucky and Michigan.
  • In the United States, at least 85 SIN List chemicals are produced annually in amounts of one million or more pounds, and at least 14 exceed one billion pounds annually.
  • At least 173 companies are producing or importing SIN List chemicals in the United States.
  • Some companies are associated with many SIN List chemicals—as many as 21 per company.
  • The five companies reporting making the most SIN List chemicals are Dow, DuPont, Chemtura, Equistar and BASF.
  • Many SIN List chemicals are produced or imported by multiple companies at numerous sites—as many as 36 companies at 52 separate sites. The five chemicals with the most companies and sites are benzene, formaldehyde, styrene, hexane and 1,3-butadiene.

Click on the above links for more information.

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