Essential use of chemicals. An update


Chemsafe, Colleretto Giacosa (TO), Italy

As known, essential use, was initially proposed by scientists and later referred to in the EU 2020 Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS). It consists in a radical departure from the current method of regulating hazardous substances.


The genesis of “essential use” can be traced back to the USA Carter administration’s amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in which banned non-essential aerosol sprays, thus affecting nearly USD 3 billion worth of sales in a wide range of products. Similar actions were taken by Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. Amendments to the TSCA were introduced at a time when both Congress and the US judiciary took a precautionary approach towards the regulation of novel, problematic substances.


The early, precautionary responses to the regulation of hazardous substances adopted a legal and qualitative approach to questions regarding the burden of proof, standards of proof and establishment of cause and effect, and were far more inclined to apply a “zero-tolerance” attitude towards setting safety standards than is currently the case, which applies a threshold dosage approac ...