ECHA Issues Its First Annual Report: “Mapping the chemical universe to address substances of concern – Integrated Regulatory Strategy”

In April 2019, the ECHA published its first annual report Integrated Regulatory Strategy. The report serves the ECHA and the responsible agencies in the member states as a starting point, given that the ECHA wants to develop an overview of all registered chemicals by 2027. It wants to identify the status quo of substances of concern and to determine which chemicals require additional hazard information or risk management measures.

Based on quality and varying potential hazard levels, the ECHA has defined three pools. The differentiation helps set the priorities of planned follow-up measures.

  • Pool 1: Chemicals with a high priority for risk management.
  • Pool 2: Chemicals that are concerning for the environment or health and that required more data to be generated or whose data must still be evaluated.
  • Pool 3: Chemicals of low priority whose handling and use is covered by current legislation and for which the authors of the report do not see a need for further action.

An important interim goal of the ECHA is to assign all 4,700 registered chemicals in quantities greater than 100 tons to one of the three pools.

As the ECHA press release indicates, only 40% of these chemicals have been mapped so far. Most substances land in Pool 2, which currently contains 1,300 substances. A great deal of work awaits the authorities in the next few months, since 2,700 chemicals still need to be classified.

The authors recommend the following for the future:

  • Additional collaboration and coordination among agencies are needed.
  • Chemical data for risk management must be made available more quickly and more comprehensively.
  • The harmonization of classification and labeling should be a priority because they simplify risk management and legislation.
  • The prioritization and appropriateness of outstanding follow-up measures is to be reviewed. Regulatory risk management is to move ahead, particularly for substances of high concern.
  • The quality of registration data must be improved, especially of chemicals that have a high potential for exposure and those that have incomplete data.

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