Chromium VI (CrVI): time for substitution plans
Up to now, the efforts of the industry have mainly focused on justifying their impossibility to substitute. Without underestimating the difficulty of this substitution, it can be said that the method used in the upstream authorisation applications has given rise to many reactions and difficulties at various institutional and civil society levels (European Commission, European Parliaments, ECHA, NGOs, etc.).
From a technical point of view, the overall impossibility of substitution has been challenged by substitutions made for certain uses. Thus, the European Commission recalled in May 2020 that if general alternatives exist but are not applicable to a manufacturer, the latter can obtain an authorisation, provided that it provides a substitution plan. The document in question can be consulted here.
In practice, in particular for all ongoing decorative chrome plating dossiers, alternative plans had to be provided in order to complete the dossier. One of them, that of CTACSub, was considered as not credible by ECHA. The final decision is now up to the European Commission, but we can assume that it will be difficult for them to take a decision that would lead to continued use beyond 2024.
It therefore appears that all future dossiers validated must be based on a credible and detailed substitution plan. This plan must reflect a genuine intention to substitute. It must also provide sufficient visibility on the different stages and risks associated with the implementation of the alternative. This is also in the interest of the industrialist submitting the dossier, as his analysis of the substitution plan will enable him to justify the duration of the authorisation he needs and possibly request an extension (at the time of the review of his authorisation) if the implementation of the plan has encountered difficulties.
Bien entendu, ce plan détaillé permettra aussi un suivi de l’avancement par les autorités de surveillance.
The effort should therefore now be focused on substitution, which, like any new development, should be carried out on the basis of a plan.