The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has decided to prioritize NMP (1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone) for authorization despite EU scientific committees’ and producers’ disapproval. This triggered an EC public consultation on the substance’s classification that will run until 2nd June. The authorization requirement could indeed threaten a broad range of important industry value chains within the EU.It would, indeed, make it almost impossible to produce many quality chemical substances and end-products at competitive prices within Europe and lead to a delocalization of whole value chains outside Europe.

NMP is classified as toxic for the reproduction (Repr. 1B) and has been on the ECHA Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) since 2011. In 2013, the Dutch competent authority concluded that the potential health risk of NMP use should be eliminated by adding it to the restriction list (Annex XVII of REACH) instead of the authorization list (ANNEX XIV of REACH). They submitted a NMP restriction dossier fixing NMP exposure levels. In 2014, The ECHA Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) and the ECHA Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) recommended that the EC implement the modified restriction proposal of the Netherlands. However, no agreement was reached between the RAC and the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) on a single EU exposure level after two years of discussion.

On 2nd March 2017, ECHA published its 8th draft recommendation which advises the EC to include NMP in the authorisation list. This publication has triggered a 3-month public consultation period which will run until 2 June 2017.

The producers of NMP are convinced that restriction is the most appropriate tool for mitigating health risks related to NMP production and use and that the drawbacks of authorization requirement outweigh its benefits. Besides their own joint actions, the producers of NMP have contacted associations of downstream users of NMP and invited them to participate in the public consultation. NMP producers are available to answer any questions downstream users may have with respect to this publication.