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Background: The European chemicals legislation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) defines criteria to identify substances of very high concern (SVHC). Within these, the property combinations 'persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic' (PBT) and 'very persistent and very bioaccumulative' (vPvB) are of specific priority. In Annex XIII, the determination of SVHC by 'weight-of-evidence' is also underlined, e.g. elevated pollutant concentrations in biota 'compared to levels in their surrounding environment', which may result from long-range transport potential (LRTP). Nevertheless, LRTP is not included explicitly, although substances may represent an environmental hazard to the intrinsic value of sensitive remote regions as highlighted in the Guidance for the implementation of REACH. Here, it is also recommended to include 'borderline cases', i.e. substances where one or more of the P, B and T criteria are not met but an equivalent concern is given by other information, in particular LRTP. Results: We define substances as potential borderline cases, which fail one of the criteria (vP or vB, P or B or T) that have to be evaluated to identify SVHC by less than 10% and are, at the same time, identified to show high LRTP, and apply this definition to prioritize potential SVHC out of the list of 5,306 compounds registered in 2012 under REACH. Eight compounds can be identified as vPvB and less than 2% as PBT compounds out of 1,022 organic, non-ionic substances. In addition, 13 borderline chemicals are contained in the list, which are characterized by LRTP. Conclusions: Three compounds fail one of the vPvB/PBT criteria by less than 10% only and show LRTP which strongly indicates that they should be considered as SVHC. Sensitivity analysis shows a rather stable classification around the arbitrarily fixed 10% value. It is concluded that several LRTP screening methods should be applied to reduce the uncertainty in LRTP determination. © 2013 Zarfl and Matthies; licensee Springer.
Zarfl, C., & Matthies, M. (2013). PBT borderline chemicals under REACH. Environmental Sciences Europe, 25(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/2190-4715-25-11