Article 23 March 2018

EU Chemicals regulatory news, 23 March 2018

Packaging and packaging waste: The European Court of Justice clarifies the scope of "polluter" under Directive 94/62 on packaging and packaging waste

The "polluter-pays" principle, as enshrined in Directive 94/62, applies also to an importer, which places packaging on the national market without making any alterations thereto. The finding was made in the context of a preliminary ruling requested by a Romanian appellate court, inquiring whether a pecuniary charge, imposed pursuant to national law on an importer of goods that placed packaging on the national market, accorded to Directive 94/62 and its objectives.

ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee to take on the responsibilities of the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (Scoel)

In the context of the second REACH Review, the European Commission has informed that the Scientific Committee on Occupation Exposure Limits (Scoel), set up and operative in the field EU's occupational health legislation, will be replaced with ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee (RAC). The move reflects the overlapping nature of the two committees' work, which evaluate in essence the same chemicals albeit under different legislative frameworks. The reassignment of Scoel's tasks to RAC follows, on the one hand, divergent findings by the two committees in the past and more recently extensive collaboration by the two bodies in elucidating their respective methodologies.

Waste: Amendments to EU'S Waste Framework Directive to extend supply chain information obligations to waste

The recently reached political agreement on amendments to Directive 2008/98 on waste (so-called Waste Framework Directive) extends information obligation on hazardous substances in the supply chain also to products and materials in the waste stage. The amendment should be seen as addressing one of the key barriers to greater material circularity, as identified by the European Commission in its Communication on the interface between chemicals, product and waste legislation, namely the lack of information on hazardous substances, in particular substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in waste. To this effect, the European Chemicals Agency is to establish and maintain a database, available to waste operators, to which suppliers shall notify SVHCs in articles they supply, thus ensuring that information on SVHCs is available throughout the entire lifecycle of products and materials.

REACH and CLP: ECHA Committees adopt opinions on several proposals for harmonised classification and labelling and on two restriction proposals

ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) has adopted opinions on fourteen proposals for harmonised classification and labelling. These include the proposals for harmonised classification and labelling of 2-methoxyethyl acrylate, an industrial chemical used as an intermediate and in the production of, inter alia, rubber and plastic products, diisooctyl phthalate (DIOP), which is an industrial chemical used primarily as a plasticiser for synthetic rubber and vinyl, cellulosic and acrylate resins in a variety of consumer products, and diisononyl phthalate (DINP, i.e., 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, di-C8-10-branched alkylesters, C9-rich; [1] di“isononyl” phthalate; [2]), an industrial chemical used primarily as a plasticiser for synthetic PVC.

Meanwhile, ECHA's Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) has adopted opinions on two restriction proposals. One of them relates to diisocyanates in the workplace, and the restriction interestingly foresees primarily training to workers. The restriction is aimed at protecting workers in, inter alia, foam, sealants and coatings-related sectors from exposure to respiratory sensitisation. The other SEAC restriction opinion relates to lead stabilisers in PVC articles, which are used, inter alia, in building and construction applications (such as window and door profiles).

REACH: ECHA has published the updated list of substances planned for substance evaluation

The updated Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) has been adopted and it contains 108 substances which are to be evaluated in the period 2018-2020. For this year, the CoRAP has specified 21 substances to be evaluated for their possible risk to human health or the environment, with priority being on substances with serious hazard properties, such as so-called CMR-substances (substances with suspected carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic properties) and endocrine disruptors. In view of the United Kingdom's expected departure from the European Union, the UK competent authority is no longer included amongst the evaluating national authorities.

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