EU SCIP – Know More About Hazardous Chemicals in Products

You can now access data from the EU’s first public database of substances of very high concern in products, SCIP. It aims to allow consumers to make more informed purchasing choices and help waste operators to further develop the re-use of articles and the recycling of materials.

Helsinki, 14 September 2021 – Around 6 000 companies across the European Union have successfully complied with their new duty to notify ECHA about products containing substances of very high concern, SVHCs. The SCIP database now displays more than four million article notifications.

Based on the information submitted so far, the most commonly notified product categories in the database are:

  • machinery and their parts;
  • measuring instruments and their parts;
  • electronic equipment and their parts;
  • vehicles and their parts;
  • articles made of rubber; and
  • furniture.

The most common substances of very high concern in notifications are:

  • lead (e.g. in ball bearings, batteries);
  • lead monoxide (e.g. in lamps, vehicle parts);
  • lead titanium trioxide (e.g. in electric cookers);
  • silicid acid, lead salt (e.g. in lead crystalware, vehicle coatings); and
  • 1,6,7,8,9,14,15,16,17,17,18,18 Dodecachloropentacyclo [12.2.1.16,9.02,13.05,10]octadeca-7,15- diene, more commonly referred to as “Dechlorane PlusTM” (e.g. in paints, glues)

You can search the data by article name or brand, product category, type of material or the chemical name. The data will help consumers make informed choices by checking whether a product contains hazardous chemicals and reading its safe use instructions. Waste operators can use the data to increase the re-use of articles and further develop recycling processes.

ECHA’s Executive Director, Bjorn Hansen says: “Today’s launch improves access to information on hazardous chemicals in articles on the EU market. It will help to track products containing substances of very high concern until they reach the waste stage, supporting the goals of a circular economy. We encourage everyone to get familiar with the database and use it.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, says: “The launch of the database is a true milestone in bringing transparency about chemicals of concern in products. This wealth of information will be of great value to all, especially consumers, waste operators, and policy-makers. It will enhance the delivery of safe and clean products and secondary materials, fully in line with the priorities on re-use and recycling defined in the EU waste legislation. Thanks to all the companies that promptly submitted information, making the database work. This is a key step in implementing deliverables of the European Green Deal, notably our action plans on circular economy and zero pollution, and our Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

All companies placing articles containing substances of very high concern on the EU market have to notify them to the database. To help companies with this duty, ECHA has developed several guidance documents and tools.

Background

Companies supplying articles that contain substances of very high concern, SVHCs, on the REACH Candidate List have to notify these to ECHA. The requirement concerns articles on the EU market that contain more than 0.1 % weight by weight of SVHCs. The obligation came into force on 5 January 2021 and is based on the EU Waste Framework Directive as revised in 2018.
The notifications are stored in the Substances of Concern in Products (SCIP) database, which ensures that the information is publicly available throughout the whole lifecycle of products and materials, including the waste stage.

SCIP provides all the technical data from companies allowing the safe use and improved re-use and recycling of the article. This includes: information to identify the article, instructions on how to use it safely, the substance of very high concern, its location, and the type of material in which it is contained.

At the moment, the database contains over four million article notifications. This number counts duplicate notifications for the same article that were made by several actors in the EU supply chains, as well as notifications made for more than one article. Therefore, ECHA does not have an estimation for the exact number of different articles in the database.

PFAS Updates in the U.S. and EU

U.S. PFAS Update: EPA Public Comment Period Open Now

In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “Pre-publication Notice for TSCA Section 8(a)(7) Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.”

The notice was ultimately published in the Federal Register on June 27. The EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule until September 27.

A few key points for manufacturers to understand are:

  1. This one-time regulation will authorize EPA to request and obtain information about products containing over 1,100 different PFAS substances imported into the country or manufactured in the USA over the past ten years
  2. This regulation was mandated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. See Sec. 7351, “PFAS DATA CALL”
  3. The EPA has required this level of information in the past from industry, but, as far as I can tell, never from article-manufacturing industries. The key sentence resulting in the inclusion of these industries is:

… articles containing PFAS, including imported articles containing PFAS (such as articles containing PFAS as part of surface coatings), are included in the scope of reportable chemical substances.

In my opinion, the EPA significantly underestimates the number of respondents at 234 and the total estimated cost at just under $10 million per year for the entirety of the American manufacturing industry. A better understanding of the electronics industry and the supply chain would undoubtedly result in a far greater number of respondents and far higher cost estimate.

Note that small businesses are not excluded from these rules.

The EPA must publish a final rule no later than January 1, 2023. A six-month reporting period would begin six months after the effective date of the final rule. Now is the time to get your comments in!

European Union PFAS Update

On July 21, the European Chemicals Agency issued an email that said:

DenmarkGermanythe NetherlandsNorway and Sweden have submitted an intention to restrict the manufacture, placing on the market and use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) (EC/CAS -) on 15 July 2021. We expect to receive their restriction proposal by 15 July 2022.

The five countries have launched a survey on PFAS and their alternatives and are looking for more information for the intended restriction. The deadline for comments is 19 September 2021.

A regulatory management option analysis conclusion document (RMOA) is also available on our website.

As the amount of focus and level of interest has risen on PFAS in general over the past decade (beyond PFOA and PFOS), the likelihood of action has risen as well. Manufacturers whose products are dependent on these substances at any level would do well to assess their essentiality and alternatives as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

USA TSCA Chemical Inventory Biannual Update Posted

The TSCA Inventory is a list of all existing chemical substances manufactured, processed, or imported in the U.S. The latest TSCA Inventory is now available here.

This biannual update to the public TSCA Inventory is part of EPA’s regular posting of non-confidential TSCA Inventory data. The next regular update of the Inventory is planned for winter 2022.

The Inventory contains 86,607 chemicals of which 41,953 are active in U.S commerce. Other updates to the TSCA Inventory include new chemical substance additions, commercial activity data and regulatory flags, such as polymer exemptions, TSCA section 4 test orders and TSCA section 5 significant new use rules (SNURs).

In April 2021, EPA released a list of 390 chemicals expected to lose their confidential status and move to the public portion of the Inventory. EPA continues to work on finalizing the declassifications for these chemicals and plans to include them in the next public posting of the TSCA Inventory.