ECHA’s committees support restricting PAHs

The Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) has adopted its final opinion supporting the proposal for restricting eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in granules and mulches used, for example, in synthetic turf pitches and playgrounds.

SEAC adopted its final opinion on Wednesday by simple majority, supporting the proposal by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and following an earlier opinion by the Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) in June.

The restriction proposal lowers the total concentration limit of eight PAHs to 20 mg/kg (0.002 % by weight). The concentration limits for PAHs in mixtures supplied to the general public are currently set at 100 mg/kg or 1 000 mg/kg for each of the substances. The PAHs all have been identified as causing cancer and the proposed concentration limits will be closer to the limit values for individual PAHs in articles supplied to the general public.

Currently, the levels of PAHs measured in granular infill material and mulches pose, at most, a very low level of concern (ECHA study, 2017). The aim of the proposed restriction is to ensure that the cancer risk from PAH exposure remains at a low level for those coming into contact (inhalation and skin contact) with the granules and mulches. This includes, for example, footballers, children playing on the pitches or playgrounds and workers installing and maintaining such surfaces.

SEAC concluded that the proposed restriction is the most appropriate measure to control the risks posed by these substances, and that the measures proposed would be proportionate to the risk with limited economic impacts. The proposal does not affect existing fields but will ensure that the material used for maintaining (refilling) the fields is below the new limit. The final opinion of SEAC will be published in the coming weeks.

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