Helsinki – The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has started to work on EU-wide positive lists of chemicals, compositions or constituents that can be safely used to produce materials that come into contact with drinking water.
The first lists will be based on existing national data and are expected to cover around 1 500 chemicals for different types of materials, the Helsinki-based agency announced.
The statement coincided with entry into force of the EU’s revised drinking water directive on 12 Jan, from when member states have two years to transpose its rules into national legislation.
The European Commission will adopt the lists by 2025, with ECHA to prioritise substances for review within 15 years based on their hazardous properties and the relevance of their risk assessments. It will also recommend expiry dates for them.
“ECHA’s future work will align the national approval systems,” said Jack de Bruijn, ECHA’s director of prioritisation and integration. “This improves the quality of drinking water throughout the EU.
“Additionally, it provides a level playing field on the EU market for companies that manufacture materials for the drinking water networks and systems.”
ECHA will also support the Commission to develop information requirements for applicants and assessment methods. This work will be done in close collaboration with the European Food Safety Authority due to the links with legislation on food contact materials.
Last month, the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) welcomed the harmonisation of drinking water regulations across the EU through the revised directive.
The regulation, noted ETRMA, now provides a comprehensive framework for products in contact with drinking water, including elastomers used for seals, gaskets, joints, hoses and parts.
The framework, it said, includes provisions for developing “a European positive list” of substances for groups of materials, including organic materials such as rubber, within four years after approval.
The move, according to an ETRMA statement, will also “add trust and enforce the EU single market for rubber goods.”