The EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability is a key initiative of the European Union’s efforts to achieve a toxic-free environment. This strategy encompasses a systematic approach to the regulation and restriction of hazardous substances to safeguard human health and the environment. The latest update to the Restrictions Roadmap sheds light on the substances currently under consideration for restriction, their assessment status, and the anticipated future actions.

Overview of the REACH Restrictions Roadmap

The Restrictions Roadmap update outlines the current status of various substances and groups of substances under the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. It categorizes substances into different pools based on their assessment and restriction status, providing a clear view of the progress and future plans for regulatory action.

Substances in Pool 0: Immediate Restriction Proposals

Pool 0 includes substances that are already in the Registry of Intention (RoI) for restrictions or where the European Commission has mandated the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to prepare a restriction dossier. This pool highlights substances with immediate and ongoing regulatory actions.

Key Substances in Pool 0

  • Chromium VI Compounds: The mandate for ECHA includes developing a restriction dossier for certain Cr (VI) substances. The submission is planned for April 2024.
  • Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): This substance has completed the restriction process and is included in REACH Annex XVII entry 51.

Substances in Pool 1: Planned Restrictions Awaiting Registry of Intentions Inclusion

Pool 1 lists substances for which preparatory work towards a restriction dossier has begun, but these substances are not yet included in the RoI. These substances are under active consideration, with significant work already underway.

Key Substances in Pool 1

  • 1,4-dioxane: Germany plans to restrict the manufacture, placing on the market, and use of 1,4-dioxane in surfactants, with a dossier submission planned for October 2025.
  • Octocrilene: France aims to restrict mixtures containing octocrilene due to its aquatic toxicity. The dossier submission is planned for January 2025.

Annex II: Substances Under Comprehensive Assessment

Annex II lists substances that are being assessed with restrictions as a potential regulatory management option. Decisions have not yet been made regarding whether a restriction will be prepared.

Key Substances in Annex II

  • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD): Screening completed, with no need for restriction as it is included in the Stockholm Convention list of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
  • 4,4’-Diaminodiphenylmethane (MDA): Screening completed with no need for restriction.

Annex III: Detailed REACH Article 69(2) Assessments

Annex III provides an overview of substances assessed under REACH Article 69(2), highlighting potential candidates for restriction dossiers.

Key Substances in Annex III

  • 5-tert-butyl-2,4,6-trinitro-m-xylene (Musk xylene): No need for restriction identified.
  • Arsenic acid: Screening completed with no need for restriction.

Recent Decisions on Substance Restrictions

This section outlines recent decisions on restriction cases following the first Restrictions Roadmap publication in April 2022. These decisions involve either amendments to the list of restrictions in REACH Annex XVII or termination of the restriction process.

Key Recent Decisions

  • Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4); Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5); Dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6): These substances have been voted on in the REACH Committee and are under scrutiny by the EU Parliament and Council.
  • Lead in PVC: Covered under Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/923 of 3 May 2023.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

The Restrictions Roadmap update is a critical component of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, providing transparency and insight into the ongoing efforts to regulate hazardous substances. By categorizing substances into different pools and detailing their assessment status, the roadmap offers a comprehensive view of the EU’s regulatory landscape and future plans. This proactive approach ensures that the EU continues to lead in protecting human health and the environment from chemical risks.

For businesses and stakeholders, staying informed about these developments is essential for compliance and strategic planning. Understanding the roadmap and its implications can help in navigating the complex regulatory environment and ensuring alignment with the EU’s sustainability goals.

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