Work continues to align REACH and OELs

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has proposed a workplan for discussion with DG Employment’s Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL), to review and identify technical inconsistencies in the regulation of compounds under REACH, and in occupational exposure limits (OELs). The problem came to the fore in 2014, with the reprotoxic solvent 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). Members of ECHA’s Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and SCOEL met in October 2015to look for a scientific solution and resolve the difference between the current OEL and the derived no effect level (Dnel) of the compound – used to define safe exposures in REACH– which is four times lower. Following Rac’s meeting in early March, chairman Tim Bowmer said that committee members would soon meet with SCOEL again, to try and reach a compromise on NMP. A draft workplan for discussions on the wider methodology involved has been prepared for discussion. Mr Bowmer expects the review of the methodology issue will take, at least, until the end of this year: “It is a more complex issue than just NMP,” he told said. “The committees need to align procedures on OEL and Dnel derivation, while bearing other legislation in mind. “Through a joint task force, the committees have been mandated to compare and contrast their methodologies and look for points of convergence and separation. We can then advise the Commission on steps it might take,” he said. There are three items on the agenda: inhalation, dermal exposure, and threshold or non-threshold approaches for carcinogens. The task force is scheduled to report on the first two issues this year, and will tackle the third towards the end of the year.

Chemical Watch, 23 March 2016 ; ;