Import and Export of Hazardous Chemicals: New rules for EU by Nick Boley

New rules come into play from 1 March regarding the import and export of hazardous chemicals between the EU and third countries.

The Prior Informed Consent Regulations (PIC) implements the global Rotterdam Convention. The regulation applies to two lists of chemicals that can be found in Annexes I and V. Additionally, Annex V includes the chemicals subject to an export ban. Annex I chemicals are hazardous industrial chemicals, biocides or pesticides, and currently has 162 entries.

The new Regulation will be implemented by the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, and is completely consistent with REACH and CLP Regulations. You can find further details here.

It is important that the identity and description of chemicals covered by PIC are accurately known and described for the regulation to be fully effective.


ECHA Publishes outputs of Substance Brief Profile event by Nick Boley

The European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, has published the outputs from a workshop held in December 2013 in Helsinki to consider Substance Brief Profiles.

These outputs – presentations and feedback from breakout groups – cover the subject of Substance Brief Profiles. These are considered to be important dissemination tools, which conform to the principles of REACH legislation in informing the public about the risks of chemicals. This also applies to other legislation including CLP and the Biocidal Products Directive (BPD).

These profiles could contain summary information as shown in this presentation about chemicals and active substances in biocides. as can be seen, they do require an accurate identification of the substance, its chemical structure, IUPAC name, and supporting data such as EC number and CAS number. It is therefore very important that these details are all correct and verified in order not to cause confusion to those requiring this information. Correct substance identity, nomenclature and the assignation of the correct CAS number are not trivial tasks and require significant expertise. It is hoped that if these are to be introduced that great care is taken that all the information is validated to ensure accuracy and consistency.

New POP review from Stockholm Convention by Nick Boley
February 18, 2014, 10:42
Filed under: chemicals, Global issues | Tags: ,

The Stockholm Convention, an environmental treaty which aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) at a global level, has produced a report following its ninth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants  Review.

The report showed that chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene were recommended for listing in Annexes A and C of the Convention. Annex A covers substances which are planned for elimination with specific, time-limited exemptions. Annex C covers POPs that are unintentionally produced, for example as industrial by-products and combustion processes.

Additionally, the committee decided that decabromodiphenyl ether met Annex D criteria. Annex D lists additional POPs.

Revised guidance on alternatives to perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) its salts, PSOSF and related chemicals was adopted by the committee. These chemicals have been a cause for concern in EU Member States for some years.

New SVHCs Proposed for Authorisation by Nick Boley
February 13, 2014, 17:22
Filed under: chemicals, ECHA, REACH/CLP | Tags: ,

The European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, has proposed a further five substances to be authorised by the European Commission. These substances are all substances of very high concern (SVHCs) and either have hazardous properties for human health (being classified as carcinogenic, toxic for reproduction or respiratory sensitisers), or has effects to the environment due to its degradation to a substance with endocrine disrupting properties.

The five substances are:

  • N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF
  • Diazene-1,2-dicarboxamide (C,C’-azodi(formamide)) (ADCA)
  • Aluminosilicate Refractory Ceramic Fibres (Al-RCF)
  • Zirconia Aluminosilicate Refractory Ceramic Fibres (Zr-RCF)
  • 4-(1,1,3,3-tetramethylbutyl)phenol, ethoxylated (4-tert-Octylphenol ethoxylates) (4-tert-OPnEO)


European Commission updates list of defence equipment by Nick Boley

The European Commission have published an update of the list of defence-related equipment and materials which supersedes the Annex to Commission Directive 2009/43/EC. which controls the trade within the EU (and EEA) on defence related products.

The new list covers:

  • Chemical and Biological weapons and agents
  • Riot control agents
  • Explosives and precursors
  • Propellants

The Directive is scheduled to come into force in May 2014 in Member States.

ECHA Published updated REACH Guidance by Nick Boley
February 10, 2014, 11:49
Filed under: chemicals, ECHA, REACH/CLP | Tags: ,

The European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, has published revised guidance to help with registration of substances under the REACH Regulations.

Specifically, a new section R7.1 “Physicochemical properties” has been produced. This guidance also applies to the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation and brings the provisions of CLP and REACH together. Two specific changes which are given are:

  • a definition for water density in the chapter on relative densities; and
  • endpoint specific information in the registration dossier in the sections on stability of organic solvents and their degradation products, and viscosity

This guidance document provides details on the physicochemical tests which need to be carried out to accurately describe a substance as part of the registration process, gives detailed test methods and is a comprehensive technical guide which supports the REACH registration process.


European Commission Produces Recommendation on Fracking by Nick Boley

The European Commission has published a Recommendation (COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION of 22 January 2014 on minimum principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (such as shale gas) using high-volume hydraulic fracturing (2014/70/EU)) which covers high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

The Recommendation highlights a number of issues which concern the use of chemicals in the fracking process, and the resulting environmental concerns. It makes clear the Member States need ensure that any chemicals used in the fracking process must comply with both REACH and Biocides Product Regulations.

There will be a need to monitor water quality where fracking takes place, in order to ascertain whether any chemicals used in the process have found their way into the water at significant levels. This will add to the workload of environmental and water company laboratories, and accredited methods will need to be worked up for any potential contaminants which are outside the current scope of laboratories water quality testing.