Today, chemical specialist organisation ChemSec reveals the latest additions of industrial chemicals on its so-called SIN List – a compilation of over 900 toxic chemicals that should be avoided in the global supply chain. Followed by many brands, chemical producers and manufacturers – as well as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, UNEP and other influential bodies – the latest additions to the SIN List are expected to set a new standard for sustainable chemicals management.
Among the newly added substances are a group of highly debated chemicals called perfluorinated chemicals, or PFAS for short, which are used in a wide variety of products such as cooking pans, food packaging, dental floss and water-resistant clothes. Currently there are several thousand different PFAS in use all over the world. Many of them belong to a newly recognized category of chemicals identified as persistent, mobile and toxic chemicals (PMTs). Due to their specific properties and their heavy industrial use, these substances are now widespread in ground- and drinking waters all over the globe. PMT chemicals is one of two chemical groups that is specifically pinpointed with this SIN List update.
“These chemicals have managed to escape regulation as they do not exactly match current legal criteria. The most well-known chemicals in this category are the fluorinated compounds, often called “forever chemicals” since they do not break down in nature. Even though debate on exactly how to regulate these substances is still ongoing, smart manufacturers should already now begin to phase them out”, says Dr. Anna Lennquist, Project Manager for the SIN List at ChemSec.
The second addition of chemicals to the SIN List belong to another much-talked-about group; nanomaterials. Engineered nanoforms are legally covered by the EU’s chemicals legislation REACH, but so far, the focus has been on establishing definitions for registration requirements. Meanwhile, brands and manufacturers have been uncertain how to approach hazard management of nanomaterials.
The SIN List now includes carbon nanotubes, one of the more well-studied nanomaterials. First engineered in the 1990s, they are used to make durable, lightweight materials, for electrical conductivity, as a super black pigment and for water purification, among other uses.
“Several studies have shown that carbon nanotubes cause lung cancer. The small tubes induce inflammation in a somewhat similar way to asbestos. Reprotoxic properties have also been observed. Up until now, the debate about the safety of nano has focused on the fact that more research is needed. However, here is a perfect example of where there is enough science to say that these materials should not be used”, says Dr. Lennquist.
Go to sinlist.chemsec.org
Full list of the new SIN List chemicals: sinlist.chemsec.org/the-new-chemicals
(New website including the new chemicals are not live until 8AM Thursday 14 Nov)