Posted on 01 September 2006
WWF is extremely concerned that the Council text will, as currently drafted, fail to deal with the most problematic substances of them all - persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals. The problem was recognised recently in a REACH Implementation Project (RIP).
For persistent and bioaccumulative substances to enter authorisation they must first be identified according to Article 56(d) or (e) - the detailed criteria are then set out in Annex XIII. However, it has been realised that many internationally recognised PB(T)s - including some proposed UNEP POPs - will actually not meet the Annex XIII criteria.
Of the 2,767 existing High Production Volume (HPV) chemicals, 43 chemicals or groups are potential or agreed PB(T)s . At the Stakeholder Expert Group of RIP 3.2.2 it has been stated that out of the ones that are agreed to be PB(T)s, only 1 substance could be said to meet the Annex XIII criteria because this Annex dictates a restricted number of test methods which must be used to judge whether the criteria are met.
Therefore, those PB(T)s that are not identified according to articles 56(d) or (e) will need to enter authorisation via the chemicals of ‘equivalent concern’ route (article 56(f)) - the so-called safety net. Yet the Council text sets too high a burden of evidence for the safety net to be considered effective.