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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

ANSES's proposal for methylmercury chloride to be classified as toxic for reproduction, mutagenic and carcinogenic submitted for public consultation

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News of 12/05/2016

ANSES has submitted a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for methylmercury chloride to be classified as toxic to reproduction Category 1A, mutagenic Category 2, carcinogenic Category 2 and for specific target organ toxicity (nervous system, kidney) Category 1. This proposal has been the subject of a public consultation on the ECHA website since 28 April 2016, in order to give all stakeholders an opportunity to present their positions, scientific arguments or any additional information they have at their disposal. Following this public consultation, which will run for 45 days, the final opinion adopted by ECHA's Committee for Risk Assessment will be sent to the European Commission to help it decide whether or not to include the classification proposed by ANSES in Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, known as the CLP Regulation.

 

Methylmercury chloride is used primarily as a laboratory reagent. It is currently being assigned a harmonised European classification, in the framework of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (known as the CLP Regulation) on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures:

  • Acute toxicity, Category 2 (oral and inhalation)
  • Acute toxicity, Category 1 (dermal)
  • Specific target organ toxicity following repeated exposure, Category 2, with a specific concentration limit of 0.1%
  • Hazardous to the aquatic environment - during short- and long-term exposure, Category 1

 

The data currently available show that methylmercury chloride induces a harmful effect on fertility, development and lactation. On the basis of results in animals and humans, methylmercury chloride is presumed to be toxic for reproduction in humans and toxic specifically for certain target organs such as the kidneys and nervous system. Methylmercury chloride is also suspected to be carcinogenic and mutagenic.

These elements led ANSES to propose a classification as toxic for reproduction, mutagenic, carcinogenic and for specific target organ toxicity, in application of the CLP Regulation.

The Agency's proposal was submitted for public consultation on the ECHA website on 28 April 2016, to give all stakeholders an opportunity to present their positions, scientific arguments or any additional information they may have at their disposal. This consultation will be open for a period of 45 days.

Comments can be sent via a dedicated form on the ECHA website.

Following this consultation stage, ANSES will be asked to respond to the comments received. The initial proposal, comments and their responses will be placed before ECHA's Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC), which will submit a final opinion to the European Commission.

On the basis of this opinion, the European Commission will decide whether or not to include the harmonised classification proposed by ANSES in Regulation No 1272/2008, known as the CLP Regulation.