Anne-Sofie Andersson, Director ChemSec
On the 1st of June 2009, it is two years since REACH entered into force and one year since ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, became operational and the authorisation process started. Up until today only 15 high concern chemicals are identified as candidates to be regulated by the REACH Authorisation process. This is where the SIN (Substitute It Now!) List comes into the picture.
The SIN List contains 267 Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) according to the official REACH criteria. REACH is a bold and progressive regulation, but to be able to make a difference for people’s health and the environment, more substances need to be incorporated into the REACH system for high concern chemicals.
EU Commissioner Wallström welcomes SIN initiative
In this issue our Guest Writer, Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission and former European Commissioner for the Environment, highlights the importance of the REACH regulation and points out that the new legislation is now in place, and “now it’s time to make it work”. She writes that she welcomes initiatives like the SIN List, “I believe this work is important to drive the process forward.”
Encouraging EU Member States
The SIN List serves as an inspiration and model for the EU Member states, according to Ninja Reineke, WWF European Policy Office, and an NGO representative in the member State Committee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). She lets us know more about the ECHA process in this issue of the SIN Reporter. “Thanks to NGO presence and advocacy efforts, there is now a growing consensus that the ‘candidate list‘ must expand significantly”, she writes.
Regulators at the national level (and some US states!), as well as EU level, are inspired by the SIN List as a more realistic option in terms of size and coverage of a credible list of high concern chemicals. Member State Competent Authorities (MSCAs) are to an increasing extent agreeing that an appropriate Candidate list should include around 300 of the high concern chemicals used in the EU today, i.e. a figure close to the SIN List. This is encouraging news. In spite of this, only a further 12 chemicals will be proposed for the second SVHC round. For the Candidate list to fulfill its objectives to provide information on SVHCs to consumers and guidance on high-concern chemicals to companies, this number must dramatically be increased. The information is out there. It is time to act. Make REACH Happen!