On June 13, 2018, the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH) published a new report on persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and very persistent, very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substances. The report details a new ‘stock pollution’ approach to performing socio-economic analysis of PBT/vPvB substances subject to authorization and restriction procedures under REACH.

PBT/vPvB substances can be described as ‘stock pollutants,’ i.e., pollutants that accumulate over time. According to the report, “the regulatory concern of PBT/vPvB substances goes beyond the concern pertaining to nonpersistent SVHCs [(substances of very high concern)],” because “environmental exposure concentrations cannot adequately be described by pointing at current emissions or release only since the previously released PBT/vPvB substances persist to the current period.”

Therefore, a ‘stock pollution approach’ to be employed for socio-economic analysis of such substances should “account for persistence, but also for the complex interactions of PBT/vPvB substance’s key properties, and for the environmental distribution patterns of PBT/vPvB substances.” Further, it must “guide end-users how impacts can be balanced with costs for PBT/vPvB emission reduction or abatement.”

The report further outlines five stages to be followed during the analysis, namely (1) grouping and ranking, (2) exposure dynamics, (3) impact evaluation, (4) cost assessment, and (5) benchmarking, and provides guidance and discusses challenges and knowledge gaps associated with each stage.

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Chemical Watch (June 18, 2018). “EU Commission issues report on socio-economic analysis of PBTs.


Gabbert, S., et al. (June 13, 2018). “Approach for evaluation of PBTs subject to authorization and restriction procedures in context of socio-economic analysis. Part I: Description of the approach.” Final report