Substances of Very High Concern (UK REACH) (Britain)

The government (UKG) has today published its policy on how new chemicals will be added or existing chemicals removed from the Substances of Very High Concern candidate list (SVHC) that was fossilised as at the EU list on 31st Dec 2020. The policy paper is here.

When UK REACH came into force, all substances that were on the EU REACH candidate list were carried over onto the UK REACH candidate list. UK REACH applies in Britain, not Northern Ireland which follows EU REACH.

The UK REACH work programme for 2021-22 committed to assess those substances that have been added to the EU REACH candidate list since UK REACH came into force, to consider if it was appropriate to add them to the UK REACH candidate list.

To aid this assessment, DEFRA (UKG) and the Welsh and Scottish Governments agreed interim principles for including SVHCs on the candidate list in UK REACH:

1 Including SVHCs on the candidate list should be used to encourage substitution away from particularly hazardous substances.

2 A substance should not be proposed for inclusion on the candidate list unless it is a good candidate for the authorisation list.

3 Regulatory Management Options Analysis (RMOA), informed by calls for evidence, should be used to determine if inclusion on the candidate list is the correct route.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with the Environment Agency (EA), used these interim principles to assess the substances that have been added to the EU REACH candidate list since UK REACH came into force. HSE and EA identified four substance groups as priorities for further assessment via Regulatory Management Options Analysis (RMOA):

• dioctyltin dilaurate, stannane, dioctyl-, bis(coco acyloxy) derivatives, and any other stannane, dioctyl-, bis(fatty acyloxy) derivatives wherein C12 is the predominant carbon number of the fatty acyloxy moiety

• 1,4-dioxane

• small brominated alkylated alcohols (SBAA)

• phenol, alkylation products (mainly in para position) with C12-rich branched or linear alkyl chains from oligomerisation, covering any individual isomers and/or combinations thereof (PDDP)

These RMOAs will recommend the most appropriate route for managing any identified risks from these substances. This may include these substances being added to the candidate list, but HSE and EA may make other recommendations.

The Defra Secretary of State, Welsh ministers, Scottish ministers and HSE can put a substance forward for inclusion on the candidate list. They can do so if they consider it fulfils one or more of the technical, hazard-based criteria to be considered an SVHC. HSE will then prepare a dossier on, and consult on, the proposed addition to the candidate list. The final decision on whether to add a substance to the candidate list is made by HSE (with the EA advising on environmental matters).