By Sami Laine
The ECHA Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) has issued opinions on the harmonised classification and labelling of cobalt metal and titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is widely used, for example, as a pigment in paints whereas cobalt metal is found, amongst others, in the input material for stainless steel. The RAC proposes that cobalt metal be classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic. As regards titanium dioxide, the Committee had already at its previous meeting expressed disagreement with the French proposal to classify the substance as category 1B carcinogen. The RAC's opinion, adopted during the written procedure, proposes classification as carcinogen 2; H351 (inhalation) instead, reflecting a less hazardous character of the substance.
In addition to above-mentioned, the RAC adopted opinions on the harmonised classifications of six other entries, namely ethylene oxide, oxirane ethanol, 2,2’-iminobis-, N-(C13-15-branched and linear alkyl)derivatives, acid Black 210 Na, Metaldehyde (ISO), Halosulfuron-methyl (ISO), certain nickel compounds and dodecyl methacrylate. The RAC opinions will form part of the decision-making by the European Commission.
The ECHA Management Board has appointed Mr Björn Hansen as the agency's next Executive Director. Mr Hansen, who has worked as the head of the European Commission’s chemicals unit since 2003, will continue the work of Mr Geert Dancet whom has served as the Executive Director of the agency since its establishment in 2007.
The 2018 REACH registration deadline is expected to see a high number of SMEs registering their substances. At the same time, there are concerns that many SME companies face challenges in meeting their regulatory obligations, most notably due to lack of expert and financial resources. In particular, and based on a recent study conducted by ECHA, the main hurdle is the cost of accessing data – through data-sharing arrangements – submitted to the agency in the context of the two previous registration deadlines.
Thus, in line with previously publicised policy to assist SMEs in fulfilling their obligations under the EU chemicals legislation, ECHA is reported to be in search for solutions to alleviate the regulatory burdens on SMEs. In accordance with ECHA's report, such measures could include increasing the transparency of SIEF costs and pricing as well as providing information on ECHA's website on available funding for compliance.