In 2019, ECHA increased the number of checks carried out on companies’ chemical safety data by 50 %. Important safety data has been requested to clarify long-term effects of chemicals on human health and the environment, including those affecting reproduction and causing genetic mutations.
Last year, ECHA conducted 301 in-depth checks on almost 3 000 dossiers, covering 274 unique chemicals. Decisions to make the registration compliant were sent to all registrants of the chemical – a change to the earlier practice where only the lead registrant was contacted. This contributed to a better collaboration among co-registrants. More checks were also done on dossiers from companies that registered their chemicals separately from joint submissions. This is to ensure that the reason registrants submitted their dossiers separately was legally justified and data-sharing obligations are met.
The focus has continued to be on information needed to clarify the long-term effects on human health or the environment. Information was requested in 245 of the 301 checks, with most asking to clarify long-term effects on the development of unborn children, genetic mutations, and aquatic toxicity. ECHA also examined close to 100 testing proposals submitted by industry.
Overall, in the last decade, ECHA has carried out an in-depth check of more than 1 000 chemicals across all tonnage bands. Over 20 % of the large volume chemicals with the highest potential exposure have been checked in depth. More than 10 % of the checked chemicals have been proposed as candidates for harmonised classification at EU/EEA level.
Bjorn Hansen, ECHA’s Executive Director says: “Chemical safety impacts citizens’ health. We know that European consumers are more worried about impacts of chemicals than ever before. To make sure companies follow the law and ensure the safety of the chemicals they sell, we have stepped up our efforts to check more registrations. This work is crucial to prevent harmful chemicals entering the EU market and ultimately minimising chemical pollution in Europe.”
With regards to substance evaluation done at the Member State level, 264 chemicals were evaluated between 2012 and 2019. For 181 chemicals, further information was needed to clarify suspected concerns. For around one-third of the 181 chemicals, risk management was needed – for example, four were flagged for restriction, nine were identified as substances of very high concern and 41 needed harmonised classification.
A full breakdown of the numbers is published in ECHA’s annual evaluation statistics overview along with recommendations for registrants on how they can improve their dossiers.