July 8, 2021

European Agency Adds Solvent 1,4-Dioxane to Hazardous Chemicals List

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced on July 8 the addition of eight hazardous chemicals, including the solvent 1,4-dioxane, to its Candidate List of substances of very high concern for authorization. ECHA’s website explains that 1,4-dioxane was added to the list because of its carcinogenicity as well as concerns related to its “probable serious effects” to human health and the environment. Under the direction of the European Commission, ECHA is also evaluating 1,4-dioxane to assess the option of an airborne occupational exposure limit, other limit values such as biological limit values and biological guidance values, and notations. The seven other substances added to the Candidate List are 2-(4-tert-butylbenzyl)propionaldehyde and its individual stereoisomers; orthoboric acid, sodium salt; BMP, TBNPA, and 2,3-DBPA; glutaral; medium-chain chlorinated paraffins; phenol; and 4,4'-(1-methylpropylidene)bisphenol.

The chemicals 2-(4-tert-butylbenzyl)propionaldehyde; orthoboric acid, sodium salt; and phenol were added to the list because of the substances’ toxicity to reproduction. Another chemical, glutaral, was identified as a substance of very high concern due to its respiratory sensitizing properties. The group of substances comprising BMP, TBNPA, and 2,3-DBPA is included because of its carcinogenicity, and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins are being added due to the substances’ persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) properties. The substance 4,4'-(1-methylpropylidene)bisphenol has endocrine-disrupting properties.

According to ECHA, some of the newly added substances are used in products such as cosmetics, rubber, scented items, and textiles, while others are used as flame retardants or in plastic products manufacturing. ECHA’s website provides additional examples of uses of the Candidate Lists’ eight new chemicals.

The Candidate List now contains 219 substances. Identifying a chemical as a substance of very high concern and including it in the Candidate List is the first step of the authorization procedure under REACH, the European Union’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals.