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EC publishes Restrictions Roadmap

The European Commission has published a Restrictions Roadmap under REACH, describing this as “an important step forward to provide detailed information on all ongoing work on future restrictions under the EU chemical legislation”.

Theroadmap prioritises group restrictions for the most harmful substances to human health and the environment, as set out in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, which is itself part of the European Green Deal. It includes a rolling list of substances, which will become the basis for the multi-year planning under REACH, and will be updated regularly ahead of the planned revision of REACH in 2027.

The proposal is the first to focus on entire classes of chemical substances, something ECHA supports but industry generally dislikes. It is largely based on the draft circulated in 2021, and now also includes substances in food contact materials, single-use nappies and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in granules for children playgrounds.

“EU chemical controls are usually achingly slow but the EU is planning the boldest detox we have ever seen,” said Tatiana Santos, chemicals policy manager at the European Environmental Bureau. “Petrochemical industry lobbyists are shocked at what is now on the table. It promises to improve the safety of almost all manufactured products and rapidly lower the chemical intensity of our schools, homes and workplaces.”

“Such restrictions may have significant impact on industry and value chains and consequently, on products produced and used in Europe,” CEFIC commented. However, it welcomed the roadmap’s promise of increased transparency on potential upcoming restrictions “as it provides us with foresight to prepare chemicals data like safety, toxicology, social-economic and alternatives”.

The association further called on the implementation process “to ensure clarity of scope, consider risks and impacts on value chains, all based on the latest scientific advancements” and a differentiated approach between industrial, professional and consumer uses of substances. Finally, it asked for more resources and expertise to be dedicated to supporting these changes, which will require considerable work by industry and the authorities, including ECHA.

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