The Substitute it Now! (SIN) chemicals list

The aim of the SIN List is to spark innovation towards products without hazardous chemicals by speeding up legislative processes and giving guidance to companies and other actors on which chemicals to start substituting.” (Chemsec)

The SIN (Substitute it Now!) list is a list of chemicals judged by the environmental NGO Chemsec to be Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs).

The list is compiled according to REACH criteria, and, as such represents a list of chemicals that are likely to be eventually and legally restricted by the EU REACH regulation.

• There are over 800 chemical / chemical groups listed

Recently the list has been subdivided into 31 sub-groups, but essentially listed chemicals are members of one or more of three basic groups:

1 The first category is chemicals that can cause cancer, alter DNA or damage reproductive systems. These are called CMR substances (Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to reproduction).

2 Then there are harmful substances that do not easily break down and accumulate in the food chain. These are known as PBT substances (short for Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic). There is also the abbreviation vPvB, short for very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative.

3 The third category is called "substances of equivalent concern". This category covers substances that are not automatically covered by the other two categories, but which nonetheless give rise to equivalent level of concern in terms of potential damage to health and environment. This category e.g. includes endocrine disrupting chemicals.


How is the SIN list used?

Though the chemicals listed are not yet proscribed by REACH, the practical effect is that the list ‘…draws the attention of the public and industry to the most hazardous chemicals that should be a priority for inclusion in the REACH authorization procedure.’  (Margot Wallström, EU)

‘The potential for legal restrictions on chemical use increasing costs associated with reformulating products and modifying processes has resulted in SIN List data being used by investment analysis firms concerned with Socially Responsible Investment, to aid in calculating financial risk posed by companies’ sustainability profiles.’ (Wikepedia)