Research

Europe: Chemical restrictions drive use of safer substances

Replacing harmful chemicals with safer alternatives and greener technologies is strongly driven by regulation, with companies reporting that restrictions and authorisation are their main drivers for substitution, research by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has concluded. Based on a survey of industry associations and more than 80 companies, many of which were affected by authorisation or restriction, around 19 per cent indicated that restriction is their main reason for replacing hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives. ECHA said adding a substance to the substances of very high concern (SVHC) Candidate List or Authorisation List was the next most significant trigger for companies, with authorisation selected by 15 per cent of the companies responding. Aside from regulation, companies also highlighted demands from their customers, enhancing their public image and adopting their own corporate sustainability policies as their main drivers to substitute hazardous substances with safer alternatives. “While regulation pushes for harmful substances to be replaced, moving away from them is also increasingly becoming an essential part of their corporate policies and the way towards a sustainable and greener Europe in the future,” said Bjorn Hansen, ECHA’s executive director. ECHA said the progressive substitution of SVHCs with suitable alternatives is one of three key objectives of the REACH. The others are making sure that the risks to human health and the environment are properly controlled and ensuring the good functioning of the internal market. 

This comes at a time when Australia's chemicals controls - including restrictions and authorisations - are being deregulated. 
Read more: ECHA news release. Source: Risks 955

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