Information on over 400 substances used in the EU as additives in plastics is now available on ECHA’s website. The listing is based on the technical functions of additives and data provided by industry on substances manufactured or imported at above 100 tonnes per year. It covers substances used as antioxidants, antistatics, flame retardants, nucleating agents, plasticisers, pigments, heat stabilisers, and UV/light stabilisers. Information on the polymer types that the additives are most commonly found in and the expected concentration ranges is also provided.
The work included the development of a methodology for comparing the potential of additives to be released from plastic articles during their use. Together with information on hazard potential, the use and release information will be used by ECHA and Member States in the prioritisation of groups of substances for in-depth assessment under REACH.
Through its results, the project aims to assist industry in identifying what use and exposure information is relevant to determine safe use for substances in articles and hence trigger a need for updating their registration dossiers. This information should be included in registrations and also communicated down the supply chains. Comparing the release potential of additives with the same technical function can also help in the substitution of hazardous substances with safer alternatives.
The project was launched in 2016 and was carried out in cooperation with 21 industry sectors, including both additive manufacturers and downstream users. It contributes to meeting the 2020 goals of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and to the EU’s Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy.