The Substitute it Now (SIN) list was presented yesterday by ChemSec (the International Chemicals Secretariat) in Brussels and includes 267 chemicals that the group feels are of high concern.
As part of the REACH legislation, the European Chemicals Agency ECHA is due to release a similar list of Substances of Very High Concern, in October, however this list may contain as few as 12 substances.
List of chemicals to be replaced
The list of 267 chemicals, which can be viewed via ChemSec’s website, was compiled in collaboration with nine consumer and environmental NGOs and a number of businesses.
One of the chemicals in the list that can be found in some cosmetics products is triclosan – an anti-microbial ingredient that has been at the centre of a recent media storm regarding its alleged endocrine disrupting effects.
Per Rosander, director of ChemSec described the SIN project as: “the first collaborative effort to identify substances that meet official REACH criteria for authorisation.”
Rosander added that regarding such chemicals, companies should start making changes to their production and search for substitutes.
“For chemicals that are carcinogenic, persistant or bioaccumulative, the time for precautionary action is now! Companies need to take precautionary action to replace these known culprits with safer alternatives.”
Disparity between SIN and ECHA
ChemSec’s SIN list contains nearly 270 substances. However, according to the ECHA’s executive director, the agency’s list of hazardous substances – which is due to be published next month – may contain only 12 chemicals.
ECHA’s executive director Geert Dancet confirmed that the list was relatively short; however, he explained this was due to the fact that the process is just beginning and everyone involved is struggling to keep up with the heavy administrative load.
In addition, the European Chemical Industry Council, suggested that any list published outside the official identification process might be confusing, and that ultimately responsibility for identifying substances of high concern lies exclusively with the ECHA and the EU member states.
Nevertheless, ChemSec state that the objective of the organisations involved in the development of the SIN list is to ‘push for strict implementation of EU chemical legislation, and to provide guidance to European authorities, companies and consumers for taking action on the listed chemicals’.