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ECHA EDCs group considers first phthalate

In its fourth meeting to date, the European Chemicals Agency ECHA Expert Group on EDCs have discussed a phthalate, dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP). Member State Sweden asked the group to provide advice on its endocrine disrupting properties, to see if it would be suitable for the REACH most harmful list of chemicals.

The REACH Candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) is intended to contain all chemicals that meet REACH’s criteria for ‘most harmful properties’. After an extremely slow start in compiling this list, particularly for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), the EU Commission agreed a so-called ‘SVHC 2020 Roadmap’ to ensure that all known SVHCs are included by 2020.

To place the pledged ‘all known relevant SVHCs’ on the Candidate list by 2020, Member states and ECHA will evaluate over 400 substances. To assist these evaluations, and to advise the formal REACH decision making processes, such as the official adoption of SVHCs in the Member State Committee, various Expert Groups have been established in ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency.

Since its start in February 2014, the group has been advising ECHA on how to screen its database to find potential EDC substances, which the Member States then evaluate as part of the SVHC 2020 Roadmap work. The Endocrine Disruptor Expert Group has also discussed several other substances to date, including styrenated phenol; methylene diphenol; propylparaben; TBMD; and oxybenzone. The group is also discussing endocrine disruption of the thyroid system, and how to interpret test results and approach assessment.

HEAL sends an expert scientist to participate as an observer to the Group. Other groups represented there include CHEMTrust, the European trade union federation ETUC; an animal rights group, and industry groups. HEAL’s expert has provided written comments to Sweden on DCHP.

The phthalate DCHP has been classified as Toxic to reproduction category 1B by ECHA’s Risk Assessment Committee in December 2014. With this classification, it fulfils the REACH criteria for an SVHC and could be adopted as a reprotoxicant but Sweden wants the phthalate to be listed also for its endocrine disrupting properties. Such as listing under the ‘equivalent concern’ criteria (Article 57f) would then affect what a company using the chemical would need to prove when applying for an authorisation.

More information on the expert group is available here

Originally posted on 9 April 2015

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