EC Requests ECHA To Broaden REACH Restriction Proposal On Cr(VI)

Chromium (VI), hexavalent Chromium, is hazardous and commonly used in various commercial products, including electroplating, stainless steel manufacturing, dyes, and paints. However, its adverse effects on humans and the environment have led to strict policies and restrictions. This blog explores the need to increase the Chromium (VI) regulations to cover more excellent substances for human wellness, environmental safety, and commercial practices.

Understanding Chromium (VI) And Its Hazards

Chromium exists in various oxidation states, but Chromium (VI) has a level of toxicity. Hence, long-term exposure to Chromium (VI) can cause inhalation, ingestion, and health problems like lung cancer, kidney damage, and dermatitis. Also, this substance is soluble in water and can contaminate soil and groundwater.

The top sources of Chromium (VI) emissions encompass business sports like steel plating, welding, and the manufacturing of chromate pigments. Workers in these industries are at a higher exposure hazard, and there’s also the potential for extra complete environmental contamination affecting groups near commercial sites.

Current Regulations On Chromium (VI):

The recent update on the REACH restriction includes the twelve substances of Chromium (VI), at least. Recently, the European Commission or EC has mandated ECHA to expand the scope of REACH regulation over the Chromium (VI) substances. However, it is to be noted that in 2023 September, ECHA already received a mandate on the addition of two substances concerning Chromium, which were already presented on the REACH Authorization List, namely, chromic acids (entry 17) and chromium trioxide (entry 16). Hence, the recent update on the expansion of Chromium (VI) substance complements the previous  one, specifying the entries from 28 to 31 and 16 to 22.

In addition, ECHA has requested to include other forms of the Chromium substances which are not added under the Authorization List, such as Barium Chromate or EC number 233-660-5. These substances can pose risks to the environment and humans when replaced for Chromium (VI).

Future Steps:

As the request to include the substances of Chromium (VI) is extensive, ECHA will submit the restriction proposal before the stakeholders on April 11, 2025, instead of October 4, 2024. Also, ECHA will organize a second call for evidence regarding the restriction proposal in June. 

Moreover, during the discussion, the questions will cover a broader scope of topics, such as the substance that can be substituted in place of Chromium (VI) and the applications that use Chromium (VI). Also, any data obtained on the first call of evidence needed to be submitted again. 

ECHA will organize the second call for evidence on June 4, 2024, during which the first call outcomes will be discussed, and the requested information will be analyzed.

Hence, once the restriction proposal is prepared and evaluated by the SEAC and RAC, the standard format of the REACH regulation process is followed.

The proposal to expand restrictions on Chromium (VI) to cover more substances is a crucial step towards enhancing environmental and human health protection. By addressing gaps in current regulations, incorporating emerging health risk data, and leveraging technological advancements, regulatory bodies can implement more comprehensive measures to mitigate the dangers of Chromium (VI). While challenges exist, the long-term benefits of reduced exposure to this hazardous substance outweigh the costs. Through collaborative efforts and sustained commitment, it is possible to create a safer and healthier future for all.
Therefore, the EC’s initiative to broaden the REACH restriction proposal on Chromium (VI) reflects the approach to safeguard human wellness and the environment. As ECHA advances the restriction proposal, approach Sunstream for REACH compliance and conflict mineral compliance, to adhere to these regulations and promote responsible environmental stewardship.