EU REACH – 2020 SVHC Roadmap Complete

As part of the SVHC 2020 Roadmap launched by the Council of the EU in 2013, all relevant, currently known substances of very high concern have been identified and included on the Candidate List. Systematic screening of registered substances has been key in identifying new chemicals of concern.

ECHA has today published a brochure summarizing the achievements of the SVHC 2020 Roadmap, following its completion.

The goal of the SVHC Roadmap was to identify all relevant, currently known substances of very high concern (SVHCs) and include them on the Candidate List by 2020. SVHCs are chemicals that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMRs), persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic or very persistent and very bioaccumulative (PBTs/vPvBs) and chemicals that pose an equivalent level of concern like endocrine disruptors (EDs) and sensitizers. The Candidate List now contains 211 substances.

The roadmap also aimed to efficiently identify new chemicals of concern. EU Member States and ECHA have systematically screened information on registered substances. By the end of 2020, Member States had carried out regulatory management option analysis (RMOA) on around 220 chemicals of potential concern and identified a need for further regulatory action for about 80 % of them.

As an example, dibutylbis(pentane-2,4-dionato-O,O’)tin, which is used as a catalyst and an additive for producing plastics, was first picked up as a potential carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR) substance through screening and RMOA. Its human health hazards were then confirmed by harmonized classification and labelling and it was included in the Candidate List in 2020.

For a large proportion of screened chemicals, more information from registrants is needed for authorities to be able to conclude on their hazards. When the information becomes available through substance or dossier evaluations, some of the substances are expected to have SVHC properties and will be addressed with the best regulatory instrument (e.g. authorization, restriction, or other legislation).

The SVHC Roadmap has increased the speed at which new chemicals of concern are identified as ECHA and Member States have started focusing on groups of chemically similar substances. It has also made the work of authorities more transparent by, for example, providing an overview of their work on chemicals of concern through the public activities coordination tool (PACT).

Jack de Bruijn, Director for Risk Management sums up: “While the SVHC 2020 Roadmap is complete, work will continue within ECHA’s Integrated Regulatory Strategy, which brings together various EU regulations to manage the risks of hazardous chemicals. The next goal has been set for 2027. By then, we aim to have screened all substances registered under REACH. This work contributes directly to the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals concerning chemicals.”

Progress on the Integrated Regulatory Strategy is provided in annual reports, with the next one published in April 2021.

EU REACH – 2021 Work Programme Published

ECHA’s 2021 priorities focus on its core mandate – REACH compliance, restrictions, authorization, harmonized classification and labeling, and biocides active substance approval. The Integrated Regulatory Strategy guides the work in prioritizing, evaluating and managing the risks of chemicals. The aim is to show ECHA’s impact in protecting European citizens and the environment from effects of harmful chemicals.

On 27 March 2020, the European Commission Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) and ECDC signed an agreement for the implementation of the EU Initiative on Health Security.

This will enable tailor-made support to strengthen public health systems’ preparedness and response capacities of the European Union candidate and potential candidate and the European Neighborhood Policy partner countries, and improve health security in the European neighborhood. ECDC has developed a comprehensive programme for 2021 to enhance regional cooperation in the fields of epidemic intelligence, rapid risk assessment, preparedness and response. The goal is to empower partner countries’ professionals to better face the threats public health systems have to fight against. Several thematic events based on specific interests will be organized.

More guidance from ECHA can be found here.