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plastic additives

ECHA publishes additives inventory

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published an inventory of all plastic additives used to date in the EU, describing it as “an important step towards better risk assessment of these substances under REACH and CLP”. This is the result of a two-year project between 2016 and the end of 2018. In all, 21 industry sectors participated, including CEFIC and Plastics Europe, as well as academics and EU member states.

The project screened about 1,000 substances to identify those being used as plastic additives in the EU and validate data on their intrinsic properties. This enabled the researchers to develop a model to calculate the release potential of each substance to air, water and soil during use in an article, ECHA said. The substances included antioxidants, antistatics, flame retardants, nucleating agents, plasticisers, pigments, heat stabilisers, and UV and light stabilisers.

The agency added that the inventory should also be useful to regulators in EU member states, who could use it as a starting point to decide which substances should be assessed as a matter of priority, by combining the information in it with the hazard characteristics of each substance. Similarly, companies could use it to further refine data about uses and exposure potential in their REACH registration dossiers.

The inventory is also part of ECHA’s commitment to examine the uses of all substances registered under REACH at >100 tonnes/year and identify those requiring further regulatory action. The process identified 419 such substances, all of them functional additives and pigments. Full details are available on the ECHA website, including the technical functions of the additives and information on the polymer types that they are most commonly found in and the expected concentration ranges.

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