In her article published on November 13, 2018, by non-governmental organization (NGO) International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec), Anne-Sofie Andersson commented on the database of substances of very high concern (SVHC) in products, currently being set up by the European Chemistry Agency (ECHA) to function by 2021 (FPF reported).

This database responds to the new legislative requirement for industry to notify ECHA of the presence of SVHCs in their products (FPF reported). NGOs have praised this initiative as helping to increase the currently insufficient chemical transparency (FPF reported). In contrast, industry representatives have criticized the idea as being too resource-intensive to implement (FPF reported) and called on the ECHA to “reconsider its plans” (FPF reported).

Andersson said that “this time” ECHA is “doing something really, really good,” because the SVHC database would increase transparency about chemicals in products and waste. This would in turn help “to increase the value of recycled materials,” thus overcoming “a real barrier for circular economy.” Indeed, circular economy requires “trust, transparency and traceability,” as Siu Lie Tan, project coordinator at Recycling Netwerk Benelux, elaborated in her article published by the ChemSec on the same day.

Andersson further explained that the SVHC database will contain the information that the consumers “had the right to . . . [know] for 10 years already according to article 33 in REACH.” Moreover, the companies will have “a couple of years” to comply instead of the 45 days period available to provide this information now upon request.

Andersson concluded that “a database that can help us understand some of the toxic chemicals we surround ourselves with is pretty solid idea” and further commented that having “full material declarations” would have been even better.

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Anne-Sofie Andersson (November 13, 2018). “Not known which hazardous chemicals are in our products is crazy – the new waste database is not.International Chemical Secretariat

Siu Lie Tan (November 13, 2018.). “Circular economy needs trust, transparency and traceability.International Chemical Secretariat

ECHA (2018). “Communication in the supply chain.