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Risk of Regrettable Substitution under EU REACH: Level Playing Field in the EU Regulatory Context

Dieter Drohmann, Francisco Hernández

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/icrl/2020/1/6

The substitution process is an important tool defined in the REACH Regulation to remove the risks derived from the use of hazardous chemicals. However, when the alternative substance is suitable in technical and economic terms, but it is just as harmful or potentially worse as the replaced one, the process results in regrettable substitution. The absence of information regarding the hazard properties of the substitute substance, inconsistencies on implementation of the European chemicals Regulations, and the lack of interest of some part of the industry to manage stringent classifications, are the main reasons why this situation is generated. Change in the paradigm ‘No data, no market’ to ‘No data, no problem’, and replacement with the ‘Least regulated alternative’ instead of the ‘Least hazardous alternative’ are the results of the regrettable substitution scenarios. In order to avoid this practice, EU Authorities and the chemical industry should work together to achieve solutions, like clarifying the objective of substitution, improving the regulatory processes, or involving industry and stakeholders into rigorous evaluations of potential alternatives to substances of concern. This will guarantee a level playing field for companies on the European market of chemicals in front of regrettable substitution.

Dieter Drohmann is CEO of the Chemservice Group; E-Mail: <mailto:d.drohmann@chemservice-group.com>; Francisco Hernández is Regulatory Affairs Advisor at Chemservice Iberia; E-Mail: <mailto:f.hernandez@chemservice-group.com>


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