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Concern for trade as European Commission advised to act on lead


The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has recommended that the European Commission (EC) adds lead to the list of substances on the REACH authorisation list.

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) came into force in 2007 to protect workers and the environment.

If the EC agrees to the recommendation, it will mean that companies will have to apply for authorisation to use lead in their products. Substances can be banned if the risks are considered unmanageable.

Such a move would have enormous repercussions for an angling industry in which the use of lead in manufacturing is widespread.

Lead is one of eight substances considered by ECHA to be of very high concern and of the highest priority, all of which it wants adding to the list.

The inclusion of lead in the draft recommendation led to a discussion in ECHA’s Member State Committee related to the best timing, its combination with other ongoing or planned regulatory activities as well as the expected workload for industry and authorities.

Ofelia Bercaru, the Director for Prioritisation and Integration, said: This recommendation brings lead metal to the same regulatory stage as other lead compounds with similar uses already recommended for inclusion in the Authorisation list.

“We are aware of the challenges and consider that balancing the risks posed by lead to workers and the environment requires a policy decision by the Commission and EU Member States.”

The EC decides which substances are included in the Authorisation list and what conditions apply for each substance. If a substance is included on the list, it can only be placed on the European Economic Area market or used after a given date if authorisation is granted for a specific use.

The Authorisation process is aimed at enhancing the substitution of substances of very high concern when technically and economically viable alternatives are available. Until this is achieved, the goal is to ensure proper control of the risks to human health and the environment.

ECHA has a legal obligation to regularly recommend substances from the Candidate List for the Commission to include in the Authorisation List. Before sending its recommendations to the European Commission, comments received during a three-month consultation and the opinion of the Member State Committee are taken into account. 

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