The proposal to restrict PFAS under REACH, drafted by the national authorities of Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, has been submitted to ECHA in January. The proposal was published on 7 February.
The restriction concerns all PFAS falling under the 2021 OECD definition, with the exception of ‘a few fully degradable PFAS subgroups’. The proposed restriction option provides for a ban on the manufacture, placing on the market and use of PFAS as substances on their own and bans the presence, in substances, mixtures or articles, of any non-polymeric PFAS above 25 parts per billion, while a limit for the sum of non-polymeric PFAS is set at 250 parts per billion. For polymeric PFAS, the limit would be set at 50 parts per million. An 18-month transition period is proposed before the entry into force of the restriction.
The restriction option excludes PFAS used as active substances in plant protection products, biocidal products, and human and veterinary medicinal products, which are covered by other regulations. It also provides for use-specific time-limited derogations (18-month transition period + 5- or 12-year derogation period depending on whether possible alternatives to the PFAS use have already been identified or not) for a wide range of products. 8 uses would benefit from a 5-year derogation and 16 from a 12-year derogation. A number of tentative derogations are included in the proposal and will be reconsidered after the public consultation.
The six-month public consultation will start on 22 March 2023 (until 22 September 2023). An online information session will be organised by ECHA on 5 April.
Following Member States Committee decisions in November and December, ECHA has added Melamine and Perfluoroheptanoic acid and its salts to the Candidate list on 17 January 2023.
Revision of food contact materials legislation delayed
The Commission has announced that the proposal for the revision of the food contact material legislation would not be published in the second quarter of 2023 as initially planned. According to a recent Commission presentation, the impact assessment will be carried out in 2023-2024 and the work on the legislative proposal will take place in ‘2024 and beyond’, suggesting that the legislative procedure will be carried out under the next Commission. According to the same presentation, the generic approach to assessing chemical risk, based on hazard classifications, will be part of the proposal, although it does not specifically mention PMT/vPvM.
Chemical industry transition pathway
The updated EU 2021 industrial strategy set the objective of developing actions plans for achieving the ‘green and digital transition’ for selected industries. These action plans or ‘pathways’ are developed jointly by the Commission, EU Member States and stakeholders (industry, social partners, NGOs and academia). The Transition pathway for the chemical industry has been published in January 2023. It lists a series of actions to be taken by chemical companies, the EU and Member States, and a timeline for their implementation. Among environmental objectives, the transition pathway reiterates the objectives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability to ‘establish safe and sustainable chemicals as an EU global benchmark’ and to ban ‘most harmful substances in consumer products unless they are essential for society’. The implementation of the transition pathway will start in the second quarter of 2023.
Swedish presidency support to REACH revision
During an exchange of views with the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, Romina Pourmokhtari, Minister for Climate and Environment of Sweden, gave an overview of the priorities of the Swedish presidency on climate and environment policy. She recalled the Presidency’s aim to adopt Council mandates on many files including the Industrial Emissions Directive, the Ecodesign for sustainable products Regulation, to continue the legislative work on water, urban wastewater treatment and air legislation and start the work on the packaging and packaging waste Directive. She also stressed that the revision of REACH was a priority for Sweden and that the Presidency is ready to start the negotiations as soon as there is a proposal from the Commission. She recalled the full support of the Council to an ambitious REACH Revision, which was expressed in the Council conclusions of March 2021.
Upcoming consultation deadlines:
- Deadline to comment on the draft Delegated act amending Annex I to the POPs Regulation to include PFHxS, its salts and PFHxS-related compounds (following inclusion in Annex A to the Stockholm Convention): 9 March 2023.
- Deadline to comment on the draft Commission Proposal revising the lists of surface and groundwater pollutants: 14 March 2023.
- Deadline to comment on the draft Commission Proposal revising the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive: 14 March 2023.
- Deadline to comment on the draft Commission Proposal revising the Ambient Air Quality Directive: 14 March 2023.
- Deadline to comment on the draft Commission Proposal amending the CLP Regulation: 30 March 2023.
- Deadline to comment on the draft Commission Proposal for a Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste: 04 April 2023.
The Commission’s recent proposal on an Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), currently undergoing legislative procedure, should be completed with a work plan, prioritising product groups and measures for the establishment of ecodesign requirements. The Commission seeks views on the categories of new products and measures to address first.
- Deadline to comment on the call for evidence and respond to the public consultation on new product priorities under the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation: 25 April 2023.
Gantt Chart of upcoming actions related to persistent and mobile substances
Click here to find Gantt chart of upcoming actions related to regulations that could impact the use and management of persistent and mobile substances in Europe.
For more information of regulations under the regulatory watch, visit https://zeropm.eu/regulatory-watch/