On 24 October, the REACH Committee voted in favour of the NMP (1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone) restriction proposal prepared by the European Commission. Neither the European Council nor the European Parliament objected to the legislative proposal by the deadline of 27 January 2018, hence the restriction will automatically become law.

It is a positive result, since the industry favours the restriction approach versus the authorisation one, which could threaten a broad range of important industry value chains within the EU. The BDO & Derivatives Sector Group expects the publication of the restriction in the official EU journal shortly.

ECHA authorisation

Despite the restriction legislation, ECHA decided to carry on with its authorisation proposal put forward last year. Its eighth recommendation of substances for inclusion in the REACH authorisation Annex published in February includes NMP.   This is in line with the agency’s legal action started in March 2017 with the publication of its draft proposal for the eighth recommendation list, followed by a public consultation that run until June 2017.

ECHA’s action may have caused some confusion. However, it is important to bear in mind that the ultimate decision on restriction or authorisation of NMP lies with the European Commission. Since the latter decided to stick to the restriction proposal even after ECHA had launched its draft proposal on authorisation in March 2017, the BDO & Derivatives Sector Group expects the Commission will continue supporting restriction rather than authorization.

Restriction procedure

Once the restriction comes into force, manufacturers and downstream users will have to implement appropriate measures to make sure workers are not exposed to NMP above the derived no-effect levels (DNEL) fixed by the restriction proposal for inhalation and  dermal exposure. Companies will have two years as of the publication date to comply with these new DNELs except for wire coating applications, for which companies will have six years.