The European Chemical Agency (ECHA), the body responsible for the implementation of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation, has recently published an updated list of substances that may become subject to authorisation and potential candidates for authorisation. ATIEL members, and all formulators and marketers of lubricants in Europe, are advised to check the authorisation list, contained within Annex XIV of the Regulation, to see if their products are implicated by any of the substances listed.
Substances that are subject to authorisation may not be used in the EU unless a producer and its registered users have been authorised to do so. “Authorisation requires a producer or users to provide ECHA with arguments for a substance’s continued use, pay a fee for it to remain on the authorisation list and demonstrate they are actively developing a suitable alternative. Authorisation is granted initially for five years,” explains Howard Hayes (right), chairman of ATIEL’s REACH Task Force.
A deadline will be set for each substance on the authorisation list, after which use of that substance must stop unless it is authorised. There may be some exceptions to this, such as in scientific use in R&D, certain products or use in mixtures below certain thresholds or substances that are used solely as intermediates that, through controlled chemical processing, are transformed into another substance.
“Ultimately, what this means is that most substances on the authorised list will likely be phased out of all non-essential uses,” he says. “Knowing if a substance currently used in a lubricant formulation is on the authorisation list is critical for mitigating the impact of any potential changes to its future availability or use.”
Substances on the Annex XIV candidate list for authorisation are typically drawn from the overall list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) contained in Annex XVII of the Regulation.
REACH aims to ensure the risks resulting from the use of SVHC are controlled and that such substances are replaced where possible. “ECHA will periodically look at the Annex XVII list and may identify and recommend priority substances to be added to the Annex XIV authorisation list,” says Howard.
“As a consequence it is recommended that lubricant producers also check the Annex XVII list, in order to identify substances currently in use which could be considered as candidates for authorisation at a future date.”