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Substances of very high concern will be gradually included in Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation. Once included in that Annex, they cannot be placed on the market or used after a date to be set (the so-called “sunset date”) unless the company is granted an authorisation.


Substances of very high concern (SVHC)


Substances of very high concern include substances, which are:


  • Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or toxic to Reproduction (CMR) classified in category 1 or 2
  • Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) or very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative (vPvB) according to the criteria in Annex XIII of the REACH Regulation, and/or
  • Identified, on a case-by-case basis, from scientific evidence as causing probable serious effects to humans or the environment of an equivalent level of concern as those above e.g. endocrine disrupters


Why and how do they need to be regulated?


These substances have hazardous properties of very high concern.  It is essential to regulate them because the effects they can have on humans and the environment are very serious and often irreversible. There is no tonnage threshold for a substance to be subject to authorisation.


The authorisation mechanism consists in an in-depth assessment.  Its outcome is then thoroughly discussed before appropriate decisions are taken.


How will the authorisation process look like in practice?


The authorisation process consists of four steps. Industry has obligations in the third step. However, all interested parties have the opportunity to provide input in steps 1 and 2.


Step 1: Identification of substances of very high concern (by authorities)


Substances of very high concern can be identified on the basis of the criteria previously described. This will be done by Member State Competent Authorities or the Agency, (on behalf of the European Commission), by preparing a dossier in accordance with Annex XV. Interested parties can comment on substances for which a dossier has been prepared. The outcome of this identification process is a list of identified substances, which are candidates for prioritization (the “candidate list”). The list will be published and periodically updated by the Agency, probably not before end 2008.


Step 2: Prioritization process (by authorities)


The substances on the candidate list are then prioritized to determine which ones should be subject to authorization. Interested parties are invited to submit comments during this process. At the end of the prioritization process, the following decisions are taken:


  • Whether or not the substance will be subject to authorisation
  • which uses of the included substances will not need authorisation (e.g. because sufficient controls established by other legislation are already in place)
  • the “sunset date” by when a substance can no more be used without authorisation.


Step 3: Applications for authorization (by industry)


Applications for authorisation need to be made within the set deadlines for each use that is not exempted from the authorisation requirement. They must include among others:


  • a chemical safety report covering risks related to those properties that caused the substance to be included in authorisation system (unless already submitted as part of the registration)
  • an analysis of possible alternative substances or technologies.  Including, where appropriate, information on research and development foreseen or already in progress to develop such alternatives.


If the analysis of alternatives reveals that a there is a suitable alternative, the applicant must submit a substitution plan, explaining how he intends to replace the substance by the alternative. The suitability of available alternatives is assessed taking into account all relevant aspects, including whether the alternative results in reduction of overall risks and is technically and economically feasible.



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