UK firms apply for permission to use banned chemicals

A number of UK firms have applied to continue using chemicals that will be banned in the EU from next year.

The majority of applications to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), made under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regime, relate to chromium compounds used in industries such as industrial chemicals, vehicle manufacturing, and electronics.

A total of 27 applications covering 39 chemicals were published for consultation on 10thFebruary 2016.

Twelve relate to sodium dichromate, which is toxic for reproduction, carcinogenic, and mutagenic. Eight of those firms that want to continue using sodium dichromate, is as an additive for suppressing parasitic reactions and oxygen evolution, cathode corrosion protection and pH buffering in the electrolytic manufacture of other chemicals.

A further 12 applications relate to Chromium trioxide which is carcinogenic and mutagenic. Uses include chrome plating in engines, plating of military equipment and treatments for metallic articles exposed to harsh environments.

Comments on the new applications can be submitted until 6th Aprilhere. The next step will be for ECHS’s expert committees to consider the applications.

To date, all authorisations applied for have been granted which has been criticised by campaign groups. In contrast, the process for obtaining authorisation has been criticised by industry for being expensive and burdensome.

Found this information useful? Sign up for a free trial of the Legislation Update Service here to access regular, more detailed articles.