These are "only the first substances of very high concern identified through the formal process," stressed ECHA Executive Director Geert Dancet, adding that new proposals were being prepared and that the candidate list would be updated.
The first list, published on 9 October, contains 15 substances identified as carcinogenic, very presistent, bioaccumulative and toxic as well as toxic for reproduction. It includes three phthalates (EurActiv 24/06/05) and a brominated flame retardant (EurActiv 12/09/08)
Once the candidate list is officially published later this month, companies will be obliged to inform consumers within 45 days whether such chemicals are present in the products on sale in the EU single market.
The first chemicals on the candidate list will be the ones to be put on a priority list and need to go through special scrutiny before they are authorised. The priority list will thus be drafted based on the candidate list and is due to be published in Autumn 2009.
Greenpeace and WWF welcomed "the fact that that the engine for substituting the most hazardous chemicals under REACH has finally started," but deplored the low number of substances on the list "compared to the hundereds of known hazardous chemicals in use".
However, the European Chemical Industry lobby (Cefic) described the 'SIN list' as "a proposal from a specific interest group and not part of the overall REACH legal design," which could potentially contribute to "confusion throughout the value chain".