< Back to Blog Listings

EU REACH: 2020 SVHC Roadmap Launched

toxic chemicals - blog

As part of the SVHC 2020 Roadmap launched by the Council of the EU in 2013, all relevant, currently known substances of very high concern have been identified and included on the Candidate List. Systematic screening of registered substances has been key in identifying new chemicals of concern.

On February 16, ECHA published a brochure summarizing the achievements of the SVHC 2020 Roadmap following its completion.

The goal of the SVHC Roadmap was to identify all relevant, currently known substances of very high concern (SVHCs) and include them on the Candidate List by 2020. SVHCs are chemicals that are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction (CMRs); persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic or very persistent and very bioaccumulative (PBTs/vPvBs); and chemicals that pose an equivalent level of concern like endocrine disruptors (EDs) and sensitizers. The Candidate List now contains 211 substances.

The roadmap also aimed to efficiently identify new chemicals of concern. EU Member States and ECHA have systematically screened information on registered substances. By the end of 2020, Member States had carried out regulatory management option analysis (RMOA) on around 220 chemicals of potential concern and identified a need for further regulatory action for about 80 % of them.

As an example, dibutylbis(pentane-2,4-dionato-O,O’)tin, which is used as a catalyst and an additive for producing plastics, was first picked up as a potential carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic (CMR) substance through screening and RMOA. Its human-health hazards were then confirmed by harmonized classification and labelling, and it was included in the Candidate List in 2020.

For a large proportion of screened chemicals, more information from registrants is needed for authorities to be able to conclude on their hazards. When the information becomes available through substance or dossier evaluations, some of the substances are expected to have SVHC properties and will be addressed with the best regulatory instrument (e.g. authorization, restriction, or other legislation).

The SVHC Roadmap has increased the speed at which new chemicals of concern are identified, as ECHA and Member States have started focusing on groups of chemically similar substances. It has also made the work of authorities more transparent by, for example, providing an overview of their work on chemicals of concern through the public activities coordination tool (PACT).

Jack de Bruijn, director for risk management sums up: “While the SVHC 2020 Roadmap is complete, work will continue within ECHA’s Integrated Regulatory Strategy, which brings together various EU regulations to manage the risks of hazardous chemicals. The next goal has been set for 2027. By then, we aim to have screened all substances registered under REACH. This work contributes directly to the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals concerning chemicals.”

Progress on the Integrated Regulatory Strategy is provided in annual reports, with the next one published in April 2021.