Some cobalt salts (cobalt sulphate, cobalt dichloride, cobalt di-nitrate, cobalt carbonate and cobalt di-acetate) were not included in the draft regulation in preparation by the European Commission to add new substances to REACH Annex XIV.
These salts are used amongst other in surface treatment processes, but there are many other uses like manufacture of pigments, use as catalysts,in batteries etc.
It is not official yet, but the European Commission will give a mandate to the ECHA to do a study to decide between two possible regulations of the use of these cobalt compounds: either through authorization (Annex XIV) or through a restriction (Annex XVII).
The ECHA has contacted the Cobalt Consortium to study a restriction proposal and compare it with an authorization scenario.The Cobalt Consortium has planned to work with EBRC Consulting GmbH to gather data about exposure to cobalt on the work place and propose possible risk reduction measures.
The possible timeline for a new restriction on the use of these cobalt salts could be the following:
- October 2013 to October 2014: study by ECHA.
- October 2014 to October 2015: the RAC and SEAC will prepare a dossier and give their opinion. A public consultation will be organized.
- October 2015 to beginning of 2016: usual procedure of commitology.
- Sometime in 2016: publication of the restriction.
The identified uses of cobalt inorganic compounds is outlined on the internet site of the Cobalt Consortium: http://www.cobaltreachconsortium.org/RED