In an article published on November 29, 2017, Anne-Sofie Andersson from the non-government organization International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec) explained why the ChemSec-maintained SIN List “is more relevant than the [REACH] Candidate List,” and said that “any company that is truly serious about substituting toxic substances in its products and supply chain is better off looking at the SIN List, rather than the Candidate List.”

Andersson recalled that the work on the SIN List “started almost ten years ago, before there were any substances on the official Candidate List,” and so far the SIN List compilers were able to name “94 percent of the chemicals on the Candidate List well before the authorities did so.” By now, “the SIN List has evolved into one of the world’s most widely known chemical standards,” with over 13’000 unique users every year, Andersson summarized. She further emphasized that “the SIN List is simply a straightforward compilation of chemicals that fulfill the SVHC [Substances of Very High Concern] criteria,” and assured that “ChemSec has great confidence in the foundation of the SIN List and its transparent methodology.”

The most recent “scrutiny” of the SIN List was carried out by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) (FPF reported). Explaining why there are many more chemicals on the SIN List compared to the Candidate List (912 versus 174, respectively), Andersson pointed out that ECHA considers the non-registered substances to be of lower priority. However, “even if these chemicals are not produced by the EU they are still of importance as they can enter the EU in imported articles,” Andersson said.

Further, there is another big group of substances which ECHA considers “tackled already,” i.e., those that “are being discussed in different working groups with complicated acronyms.” However, “even if the intentions of these expert groups are good, in practice they are bottlenecks where toxic chemicals tend to be discussed for years,” Andersson criticized. She further noted that, with regard to the too slowly moving legislation, “the elephant in the room is of course the blatant lobbying from parts of industry that plagues every political process in the chemical world.” Andersson characterized the authorities’ handling of chemical regulation issues as exhibiting “a lack of political courage,” and quoted the words of the ECHA Director Geert Dancet who, only when nearing the end of his term, said that “every time ECHA or an EU member state puts a substance forward for the Candidate List and in particular for the Authorization List, there is high pressure from industry to block that.” This is “because they exaggerate the fact that they cannot substitute,” so Dancet.

Read more

Anne-Sofie Andersson (November 29, 2017). “The SIN List is more relevant than the Candidate List.ChemSec