On 23 June 2016, the Official Journal of European Union (OJEU) published Regulation (EU) 2016/1005, amended the asbestos fibres restriction in entry 6 of REACH Annex XVII.
The asbestos fibres restriction in entry 6 of REACH Annex XVII prohibits the manufacture, placing on the market and use of asbestos fibres, and of articles and mixtures containing these fibres added intentionally. According to the existing restriction, Member States can permit the placing on the market and use of diaphragms containing chrysotile for existing electrolysis installations.
In 2014, according to the request of the European Commission (EC), the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) submitted a dossier, proposed to amend the existing restriction on the exemption of diaphragms containing chrysotile. After the 1st and 2nd public consultation, the ECHA submitted the final opinions to the EC. Based on the opinions, the EC decided to amend the asbestos fibres restriction in entry 6 of REACH Annex XVII.
According to this new regulation - Regulation (EU) 2016/1005, starting from 13 July 2016, the Member States should not permit the placing on the market of diaphragms containing chrysotile and of chrysotile fibres exclusively for their maintenance. For the diaphragms containing chrysotile for electrolysis installations which had been exempted by a Member State, the use in those installations of such diaphragms or of chrysotile used exclusively in the maintenance of such diaphragms is permitted until 1 July 2025.
In addition, the Member States should transmit a report to the EC every year, which indicates the amount of chrysotile used in diaphragms pursuant to the exemption. The results of monitoring of chrysotile in air by downstream users should also be included in the report.
This new regulation will enter into force on the 20th day following that of its publication in the OJEU (i.e. 12 July 2016).