Fibreglass classification: ECHA puts ANSES's proposal up for public consultation

In March 2013, France issued two proposals to ECHA for the classification of "E-glass fibres" as category 1B carcinogens (known or presumed to have carcinogenic potential for humans) and "fibres of representative composition" as category 2 carcinogens (suspected human carcinogens). Following comments received during the public consultation of these proposals, ANSES submitted a revised classification dossier for the identification of classified substances. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has put the Agency's proposal up for public consultation through 22 April 2014.

“E-glass fibres” and “fibres of representative composition” are "special use" types of fibreglass, which are used in high-efficiency air and water filtration systems in the automotive industry, in electronics, as battery separators and as insulation in aeronautic applications. The main application for the general public is in building ventilation systems (offices, schools, airports, hotels, department stores, group housing, conference centres, animal housing facilities). The fibres are particularly small, with a diameter of approximately one micron, and can be inhaled.

In March 2013, France issued a proposal to ECHA for the classification of "E-glass fibres" as category 1B carcinogens and of "fibres of representative composition" as category 2 carcinogens. Due to the comments by manufacturers received during the first public consultation, the composition, manufacturing process and designations used to specifically describe each type of fibre needed to be further clarified.

In January 2014, ANSES - in its capacity as an organisation in charge of providing support to the French authorities for implementation of the European regulation on the labelling of chemical substances - resubmittedrevised classification dossiers for these two types of fibreglass. Since 5 March 2014, the dossiers have been open for public consultation on the ECHA website and will remain so through 22 April 2014.

Classification in category 1B for the carcinogenicity of “E-glass fibres” would directly require the application of more stringent regulatory measures, with the obligation to implement strengthened preventive measures for professional uses of these fibres (primarily their substitution), and a ban on their marketing authorisation when intended for use by consumers.

Comments can be submitted by using the form specific to each type of fibre available on ECHA's website.

Following the public consultation stage, ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee will deliver a final opinion based on all the available data, which will be sent to the European Commission no later than 18 months after the proposal's publication date. The decision, based on this opinion, whether to include the harmonised classification in the CLP regulation [1] will be handed down by the European Commission.

(1) CLP: Classification, Labelling, Packaging; Regulation (EC) no 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC and amending Regulation (EC) no 1907/2006.