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Lower concentration limit proposed for PAHs found in granules and mulches

A proposal has been prepared by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in cooperation with ECHA.

The proposal states that the general concentration limits set under REACH for eight carcinogenic PAHs in mixtures are insufficient for protecting those who come into contact with the granules and mulches while playing at sports facilities and playgrounds.

In its assessment, RIVM looks at the human health risk for professional football players (including goalkeepers), children playing on the pitches and on playgrounds, as well as workers installing and maintaining the pitches and playgrounds.

The proposal suggests a combined concentration limit for the eight PAHs of 17 mg/kg (0.0017 % by weight). The current concentration limits applicable for supply to the general public are set at 100 mg/kg for two of the PAHs and 1 000 mg/kg for the other six.

The proposal of the Netherlands, available on ECHA’s website, outlines that the suggested reduction in the concentration limit would ensure the cancer risk from PAH exposure remains very low for those coming into contact with the granules and mulches; decrease societal concerns about the negative health impacts caused by the PAHs; lead to no major additional administrative burdens on public authorities in terms of costs for implementing the lower concentration limit; and cause relatively limited and affordable societal costs.

ECHA's committees will now check whether the restriction dossier conforms to the requirements of REACH. If so, a six-month-long consultation will begin in September 2018. ECHA’s scientific committees will assess the proposal and formulate their opinions, and these will be submitted to the Commission.

In addition to processing the Netherlands’ proposal, ECHA will assess – as requested by the European Commission – the health risks of other substances that may be contained in granules and mulches used as infill in synthetic sports pitches. It is possible that ECHA will also assess the environmental risks, too.