There are currently six substances outlawed in the EU under the REACH regulations. However, the European Chemicals Agency has recommended to the EU Commission adding a further 13 chemical compounds to that list.

The additional chemical compounds proposed for a ban include seven chromium compounds (chromium trioxide, chromic acid, sodium potassium chromate, and sodium chromate); the solvent trichloroethylene and five cobalt compounds (cobalt sulphate, cobalt dichloride, cobalt dinitrate, cobalt carbonate, and cobalt diacetate).

All 13 substances are currently listed as ‘Substances of Very High Concern’. If a ban is imposed, companies can request authorization to continue use in specific cases, if no alternatives are available.

“This would be a marked expansion and represent a huge undertaking for industry to ensure its stock of products were compliant; a process likely to entail significant costs” said John Doherty, a partner and EU regulation specialist at law firm Manches. Mr Doherty said the bans could be in place within approximately two years.