The Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) programme of in-depth substance evaluation checks by Member State officials is significantly off course, with just 94 of 352 (26.7%) cases completed by December 2018 according to a review of action by European governments.
As a result, officials are failing to prevent dozens of dangerous chemicals being used in consumer and other products.
National authorities began a systematic programme of in-depth safety checks on hundreds of substances thought to have dangerous properties in March 2012. According to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) review, high-quality checks were completed on 94 substances by December 2018, of which nearly half (49% or 46) were declared to be unsafe in their current commercial use. The 46 danger substances are listed for the first time in the document.
Agents judged the 46 substances a danger due to their harmful properties and exposure threat to people or the environment. They concluded that protective action is needed in all cases, but no action has yet been taken to control 74% (34) of the 46. Lack of resources is a major cause of inaction, NGOs have been told.
The main reason for the delay in evaluations being completed in a timely fashion is said to be rooted in inadequate data by chemical companies to officials. Firms are required by EU law to provide high-quality safety data. When they do, cases are resolved within a year. But agents had to order companies to produce more data in 64% of cases since 2012, the records show. Companies generally responded quickly to requests. But once triggered, the data request and review process typically takes 7–9 years to conclude. It afterwards typically takes a further 5–7 years for officials to take action to control a substance, which could include a ban. So once officials suspect a substance is unsafe for current uses and prioritise it for evaluation, it could legally be used to make products for up to 16 years before it is finally brought under control by regulators.
The EEB called on officials to stop blacking out the names of non-compliant companies in their reports, carry out more checks and speed up their work, among other demands.
Last reviewed 4 April 2019