January 26, 2023

European Agency Adds Melamine, Used in Polymers and Resins, to Hazardous Chemicals List

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced on Jan. 17 the addition of nine hazardous chemicals to its Candidate List of substances of very high concern for authorization. Details about these substances—including hazard classification and labeling information and properties of concern—are available from “infocards” published by ECHA. The substances newly added to the list include melamine (infocard), a chemical with a variety of industrial uses including in polymers and resins, coating products, adhesives and sealants, leather treatment products, and laboratory chemicals. ECHA’s website highlights concerns about melamine’s “probable serious effects” on human health and the environment. PubChem, the open chemistry database of the National Institutes of Health, describes melamine as an eye, skin, and respiratory irritant, and states that chronic exposure to the chemical may cause cancer or reproductive damage.

The eight other substances ECHA has added to its hazardous chemicals list are the substance 1,1'-[ethane-1,2-diylbisoxy]bis[2,4,6-tribromobenzene] (infocard); the flame retardant 2,2',6,6'-tetrabromo-4,4'-isopropylidenediphenol (infocard); 4,4'-sulphonyldiphenol (infocard), which is used in the manufacture of pulp and paper; barium diboron tetraoxide (infocard), which is used in paints and coatings; the flame retardant and plasticizer bis(2-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate (infocard); isobutyl 4-hydroxybenzoate (infocard), which is used in the manufacture of products such as putties, plasters, and inks and toners; perfluoroheptanoic acid and its salts (infocard); and the reaction mass of 2,2,3,3,5,5,6,6-octafluoro-4-(1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropan-2-yl)morpholine and 2,2,3,3,5,5,6,6-octafluoro-4-(heptafluoropropyl)morpholine (infocard), which is used in formulation or repacking in manufacturing and other industrial sites.

Two of the chemicals, 4,4'-sulphonyldiphenol and isobutyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, were identified as substances of very high concern due to their endocrine-disrupting properties. Another three substances were added to the list due to their very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) properties: 1,1'-[ethane-1,2-diylbisoxy]bis[2,4,6-tribromobenzene], bis(2-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate, and the reaction mass of 2,2,3,3,5,5,6,6-octafluoro-4-(1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropan-2-yl)morpholine and 2,2,3,3,5,5,6,6-octafluoro-4-(heptafluoropropyl)morpholine. Barium diboron tetraoxide was added to the list because of its toxicity to reproduction, and the substance 2,2',6,6'-tetrabromo-4,4'-isopropylidenediphenol was identified as carcinogenic. ECHA identified several concerns related to perfluoroheptanoic acid and its salts, including its vPvB properties, toxicity to reproduction, and probable serious effects on human health and the environment.

The Candidate List now contains 233 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.

For more information, see ECHA’s news release.