In a last minute effort to fulfil the public commitment made by European Commissioners Antonio Tajani and Janez Potocnik in 2010, the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, has on behalf of the European Commission just announced the intention to propose another 38 substances on the REACH Candidate List by the end of August.This means that if all substances already suggested by EU member states and the ones just put forward by ECHA will be accepted by the Member State Committee, the candidate list will finally exceed the magic number of 136 with one additional substance as bonus.
– We are of course very pleased that the member states, the Commission and ECHA have finally lived up to the public's expectations. However one might question why this first real effort by ECHA to contribute to the population of the candidate list has taken four years to implement and is set into action with only days to spare. Hopefully, this occasion will mark a permanent shift in the attitude towards the Candidate List and that further substances will continue to be added the coming years by both ECHA and those Member States that so far have not contributed, says Jerker Ligthart, ChemSec Senior Chemicals Advisor.
The added value for consumers of an expanded Candidate List has so far come second to the wish of the authorities to have all information at hand on use, production and potential risk management options. An extensive Candidate List with a large number of the most hazardous substances in use will be a powerful tool for consumers to ask for safer products and will send a strong signal to the manufacturers of these substances that they are not wanted on the market and should be substituted as soon as possible.