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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

ANSES's proposed classification for phosphine submitted for public consultation

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News of 26/02/2018

ANSES has submitted a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for phosphine to be classified for its toxicity following acute inhalation exposure (Category 1). It was submitted for public consultation on the ECHA website on 12 February 2018 for a period of 60 days, to give all stakeholders the opportunity to present their comments, scientific arguments or any additional information they have at their disposal. Following this public consultation, a final opinion will be adopted by ECHA's Committee for Risk Assessment and sent to the European Commission, which will decide whether or not to include the classification of phosphine in the CLP Regulation (on classification, labelling and packaging of products).

Phosphine is an active substance used in plant protection products. It can also be used in semiconductors and in electrical, electronic and optical equipment.

Phosphine is currently being assigned a harmonised classification at European level, in the framework of the CLP Regulation:

  • Gases under pressure;
  • Flammable gas, Category 1 (H220);
  • Fatal if inhaled; Category 2* (H330). This is a minimum classification following the replacement of Directive 67/548/EEC by the CLP Regulation, which has different classification criteria;
  • Causes severe skin burns and eye damage; Category 1B (H314);
  • Very toxic to aquatic life; acute hazard; Category 1 (H400)

At the request of the General Directorate for Labour, ANSES conducted an expert appraisal on the updating of phosphine's acute toxicity classification, on the grounds that it is heavily used in fumigation activities. Cases of serious accidents have justified the need to improve risk management for this substance, which previously only had a minimum classification.

The studies currently available demonstrate that phosphine is fatal to rodents after acute inhalation exposure. This evidence therefore led ANSES to propose the following classification:

  • Fatal if inhaled; Category 1 (H330).

This proposal was submitted for public consultation on the ECHA website on 12 February 2018, to give all stakeholders the opportunity to present their positions, scientific arguments or any additional information they have at their disposal. This public consultation will remain open for 60 days.

Comments can be sent via a dedicated form. 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 within 18 months.

On the basis of this opinion, the European Commission will decide whether or not to include the harmonised classification proposed by ANSES in the CLP Regulation.