I hope you have had a very good break over the Easter long weekend, and are back at work safely, whether you are working from home, or on your premises.
Here in the UK, parliamentary business has been slower than normal, for example the Environment Bill which will take over managing UK-REACH has been postponed until after the Easter Recess. There is a strong sense in the UK that everything, even Brexit, has to take a back seat while the country gets over Coronavirus.
(Having said that, the indications from the British side is that we will stick to the deadline, rather than ask for an extension ,which must be agreed by both parties by June 2020).
The HSE are very heavily involved in the Coronavirus effort in the UK, https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm:
- making sure PPE is the correct standard
- advice on correct use of PPE https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/face-mask-ppe-rpe-coronavirus.htm
- working with industry to ensure that alcohol-based hand sanitisers are made available under a derogation from BPR https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/hand-sanitiser-manufacture-supply-coronavirus.htm
- providing guidance on social distancing at work for people in key industries https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/social-distancing-coronavirus.htm
ECHA have also been involved in the Coronavirus crisis in a number of ways:
- Supporting the supply of disinfectants through derogations https://echa.europa.eu/-/speeding-up-the-supply-of-disinfectants
- Completeness checks on Chemical Safety Reports, which were due to start in April have now been postponed until October 2020 https://echa.europa.eu/-/completeness-check-of-chemical-safety-reports-postponed-until-october-2020
- Extending some deadlines https://echa.europa.eu/-/echa-to-support-eu-wide-action-against-covid-19
However, there are some “business as usual” items which you may not be aware of:
- Updates to registration dossiers made during substance evaluations need to be reported separately to the evaluating committee https://echa.europa.eu/-/updates-to-registration-dossiers-not-taken-into-account-during-substance-evaluation-decision-making
- 7 substances have been proposed for Authorisation https://echa.europa.eu/-/do-you-have-further-information-on-uses-of-seven-substances-proposed-for-authorisation- (more below)
- The 13th ATP to CLP is due to come into legal effect on 1st May 2020 (details below)
7 substances proposed for Authorisation
The 7 substances are:
- Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4), Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), and Dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6), for use in electronic articles, nonmetal surface treatment
- Terphenyl, hydrogenated, for use in heat transfer fluids, adhesives, sealants, coating, paints
- Dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP) for use as a plasticiser for plastics and rubber, phlegmatiser for organic peroxides
- Disodium octaborate for use in coatings, paints, construction materials, adhesives, fertilisers
- Benzene-1,2,4-tricarboxylic acid 1,2-anhydride (trimellitic anhydride; TMA), currently no registered use in the scope of authorisation
If you are affected by these proposed Authorisations, it’s important to provide evidence to ECHA, or to request an extension to the consultation time, as there’s no current indication that this will be delayed.
13th ATP to CLP coming into effect on 1st May 2020
There is some concern within the chemical industry about the Harmonised Classification for 2-methyl-2H-isothiazol-3-one, MIT, as there will be new labelling requirements, and I was approached by a contact in Italy about whether there would be any delay to this deadline.
I wrote to the HSE about this, and learned from them that the British Coatings Federation applied to the HSE to move the application date back to 1st May 2021, to allow industry extra time to comply with the new requirements while everybody is busy dealing with the Coronavirus crisis.
Francis McGuigan of the HSE writes: “Unlike the EU Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) where it is possible for national authorities to put in place short-term derogations from the requirements for product authorisation, there are no provisions in the CLP Regulation that allow Member States or competent authorities to postpone the application date of the 13th ATP from 1st May 2020 to 1st May 2021.
We have received no information or formal communications from the EU27 Competent Authorities, ECHA or the Commission but the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recently wrote on 2 April to Directors of Member State Competent Authorities about the measures ECHA has been taking in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. With respect to regulatory deadlines, ECHA confirmed that it is currently looking into possible exceptions, in close consultation with the Commission services and will be publishing clear guidance as soon as possible, in order to provide legal certainty for competent authorities and for industry. This initiative may offer the hope of some flexibility at EU-level but ECHA’s focus has been on supporting EU/EEA countries and companies to ensure that disinfectants can quickly enter the market and allowing more flexibility for companies in meeting certain deadlines associated to ECHA’s decisions rather than regulatory deadlines such the application date of the 13th ATP.”
So it is possible that there may be a delay, but there is no sign of it yet. I will let you know if this does happen.
It is interesting that BPR contains the ability of individual member states to alter things, but CLP does not. This may be a hangover from BPR replacing BPD, which had to be brought into effect via individual member state legislation, but it is certainly proving very useful in the current crisis, as individual countries can act more quickly than the EU.
One reason why the new Harmonised Classification for MIT is problematic is that the makers of consumer products don’t like the new classification information going onto their products labels, where MIT is used as a preservative.
Briefly, it will mean that products are identified as Skin Sensitiser Cat 1A if the concentration is at or above 0.0015% w/w (that is 15 mg/kg or 15 ppm), which is generally the level used for in-can preservation. This will require the GHS07 symbol (exclamation mark), signal word Warning, hazard statement: May cause allergic skin reaction, and appropriate precautionary statements.
When you think that this will affect many paints, which are otherwise not classified, it is a big step for any consumer to go from splashing emulsion paint around as they use it, to being worried about something which suddenly has a hazard label and other information, even though the product is exactly the same as it has been for decades.
There are ways round this, such as using a scavenger to remove excess MIT, but this does not necessarily remove all MIT.
Some customer-supplying businesses are therefore requiring no MIT in their products at all.
If this situation affects you, you may be interested to know that Lonza has developed an equivalent in-can preservative without MIT, see https://coatings.specialchem.com/centers/antimicrobials-biocides/mit-free-in-can-preservatives .
It will be interesting to see whether this deadline is put back or not.
I hope you, your family and colleagues are well, that is the most important thing.
GHS Classification Courses from TT Environmental Ltd
20th April 2020
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