On November 10th, 2016 ECHA has withdrawn the respiratory sensitizers, HHPA and MHHPA, from its latest recommendation for substances to be added to REACH Annex XIV (list of chemicals subject to an authorisation process). Though this withdrawal might be only temporary, it shows that the efforts of the industry to responsibly deal with chemical substances and restrict the Anhydrides to industrial use only, has been acknowledged by ECHA and the member states competent authorities.

The announcement follows a public consultation, during which the Anhydrides Joint Industry Taskforce reacted strongly against adding the two substances, which are used as hardeners in epoxy resins, saying no technically and economically viable alternatives are available.

The Anhydrides Joint Industry Taskforce (AJIT) is a joint initiative of Producers/Importers, Formulators, and Downstream Users of the Anhydrides used as epoxy hardeners. The purpose of the AJIT is:

  1. To evaluate socio-economic impacts of an authorisation.
  2. To gather information on current exposure levels and risks associated with Anhydrides and promote best practice regarding protective measures.
  3. To inform authorities of possible risk management options for the use of Anhydrides

AJIT has submitted a report during the Public Consultation to show how HHPA and MHHPA are used under appropriate risk management measures and it is further working to develop a Voluntary Commitment to ensure the safe use of HHPA and MHHPA . All companies interested to join the Voluntary Commitment and/or AJIT are invited to contact patrick.de.kort@pceu.eu and consult Anhydrides.eu.

On 6 December the Anhydrides Joint Industry Taskforce will hold an informative briefing on the current regulatory procedure, the activities of AJIT, and the voluntary commitment. To register, please click here.

Furthermore, the AJIT is continuously collecting information on the historical incidence of occupational asthma in plants utilising HHPA/MHHPA. We therefore request you to require your company doctor or company medical service provider to fill in an online survey. Even if there was no case of occupational asthma in your plant please have the survey filled as the confirmation of absence of occupational asthma is equally important.