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Chromium Trioxide Authorisation Application - CTACSub

Our authorisation services for companies using Chromium Trioxide, especially for functional chrome plating

What is CTACSub authorisation application? 

CTACSub is the joint upstream application submitted by 7 applicants that covers all their downstream users for 6 defined uses of CrO3. The uses covered are (1) formulation (2) functional chrome plating (3) decorative chrome plating (4) surface treatment for aeronautics & aerospace industries (5) miscellaneous surface treatment and (6) passivation of tin plated steel.

CTACSub application - How everything started

CTACSub application was submitted before the latest application date meaning that all downstream users are now covered by transitional arrangements since the 21st September 2017. The ECHA committees (RAC & SEAC) issued their Opinions on the 6 uses to the Commission for decision making already on the 30th September 2016. They recommended approval for all 6 uses but with shorter than requested review periods and stringent conditions of use and monitoring arrangements for 5 of the 6 uses. There were delays in decision making as the Opinions outlined that there was uncertainty as to the adequacy of the operating conditions and risk management measures in place at the potentially 1000’s of sites of use as these were not described in the application reports. There was also uncertainty as to the availability of alternatives as 5 of the uses have very broad use descriptions.

The REACH Committee finally voted to approve an implementing decision granting authorization as per the RAC and SEAC recommendations in February 2019 . However, before the implementing decision was published, the decision of the General Court to annul authorizations granted for the use of lead chromates as pigments. This Court decision has been a game changer for the authorization process as the decision outlined that authorization cannot be granted when there is uncertainty on the availability of suitable alternatives in general. In May 2019, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the Commission to withdraw the CTACSub decision. This required the Commission to suspend the decision and consider how to respond to both the Court decision on the lead chromates and the resolution of the European Parliament.

CTACSub application - Where are we now?

Now in 2020, it seems that CTACSub will be split and 5 of the 6 uses will be approved and one has received a request for the submission of a substitution plan for “utilizations” where it is considered that suitable alternatives are in general available. This request was sent to the applicants in February 2020 with a 6 month deadline for submission. It also states that if the applicant does not submit the requested information, the Commission will have to refuse the authorization.

This means that decorative chrome plating has at least another year to go before getting a decision and the other 5 will likely get their decision approved in a forthcoming REACH Committee meeting.

Once approved, a summary will be published in the Official Journal and the full decision will be issued to the applicants. The applicants become authorization holders and they and their downstream users need to fulfil whatever conditions and monitoring arrangements that are ultimately imposed in the final texts of the decisions. The review periods then come into effect. Based on the draft implementing decisions from Feb 2019, it may be that uses with a 7 year review period will start from the sunset date and those will a four year review period will start from the date of decision adopted. This may mean in practice that the end of the review period for four and seven years is around the same time (September 2024). This does not leave downstream users a lot of time to prepare their own applications, submit them and a commission decision in place before the review period ends. If they do not have their own decision in place, they will need to stop use until their decision

What if the EU Commission rejects the application for authorisation?

The Commission is very unlikely to reject the application for 5 of the 6 uses covered during the REACH committee meeting to be held on April 2020. For the decorative chrome plating use, provided a substitution plan is submitted with the information requested, it too is not likely to be rejected.

What if the EU Commission accepts the application for authorisation?

If the REACH Committee votes to approve implementing decisions for 5 of the 6 uses in the April meeting, the Commission then adopts the decision, publishes a summary in the Official Journal and issues the full decision to the applicants who become authorization holders. Once the decisions are issued, all users covered by the granted authorizations are legally bound to comply with the conditions of use and monitoring arrangements as given in the decision texts. These are likely to be extensive. For example, they will likely require all downstream users to submit monitoring data to ECHA within 12 months.

What is the impact of the decision on downstream users?

The 1000’s of downstream users covered by the application will need to comply with the conditions of use and monitoring arrangements as given in the decisions. They are likely to extensive and among the most stringent imposed to date. They will have to check:

  • Whether the operating conditions and risk management measures required by the decision are in place at their site of use and operating as intended
  • They may need to launch worker air monitoring and air and/or water sampling campaigns within 6 months of the decision
  • They will need to be ready to submit the results from these measurement campaigns to ECHA according to deadlines given in the decision. Based on the measurement results
  • Based on the measurement results, they will need to determine if they need to take action to minimise emissions
  • They will need to prepare for probable inspections by national enforcement authorities and will need to prepare their documentation that will demonstrate their compliance with the authorization conditions

What are the immediate actions for downstream users?

Dowstream users covered by CTACSub authorisation application should:

  • Review carefully their operating conditions and risk management measures in place and already take action as needed
  • They should take note of their existing obligations to workers under the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive  as transposed into their national laws and ensure that they can demonstrate compliance if requested
  • They would need to consider if they need to continue their use after the end of the CTASub review periods (likely to be 2024)
  • And, if yes, they will need to start planning to submit downstream user driven applications. These are clearly preferred by the ECHA committees and the Commission

 

REACHLaw Authorisation services for companies using Chromium Trioxide, especially for functional chrome plating

REACHLaw offers a range of authorization services from scoping to preparing the application. We have prepared applications for consortia and individual applicants. If you are a downstream user of chromium trioxide and you would would like to know more about the services we offer, contact us at  

More information about our REACH Authorisation service can be found here.