Lead Identified as “Substance of Very High Concern” in EU
The European Chemicals Agency, or ECHA, recently added 10 new substances, including lead, to its Candidate List of substances of very high concern for authorization. Identifying a substance as an SVHC and including it in the Candidate List is the first step of the authorization procedure under the EU’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, or REACH. ECHA’s website states that lead—as used in metals, welding and soldering products, metal surface treatment products, and polymers—has been added to the Candidate List because it is toxic for reproduction.  Three other substances used in washing and cleaning products, polishes and waxes, and cosmetics and personal care products—octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4), decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), and dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6)—were included on the list based on their “very persistent and very bioaccumulative” properties. D4, D5, and D6 were also found to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic substances. Other substances added to the Candidate List include disodium octaborate, benzo[ghi]perylene, hydrogenated terphenyl, ethylenediamine (EDA), trimellitic anhydride (TMA), and dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP). TMA, which is used in the manufacture of esters and polymers, is included for its respiratory-sensitizing properties. DCHP, which is included due to its endocrine-disrupting properties and its toxicity for reproduction, is used in plastisol, PVC, rubber, and plastic articles. It is also used as a phlegmatizer and dispersing agent for formulations of organic peroxides. ECHA’s website provides examples of the substances’ uses. The Candidate List now contains 191 substances. SVHCs are substances that may have serious and often irreversible effects on human health and the environment.