Oil companies Shell, ExxonMobil, Orlen and Total introduced the largest number of hazardous chemicals to the EU market, according to information released by the European Chemicals Agency following a lawsuit by NGO ChemSec and legal advocacy group ClientEarth.
ChemSec published the names of the companies that produce or import the 626 chemicals on the organization’s Substitute It Now list, which names Substances of Very High Concern based on criteria established by the European Chemicals Agency. Last month, ChemSec added 249 chemicals to its SIN list, expanding it by 66 percent to 626 identified chemicals. In comparison, only 138 Substances of Very High Concern are on the official REACH Candidate List.
ChemSec believes many of these compounds, which are still present in consumer products including detergents, paints and toys, are likely to face future EU bans.
Oil and gas companies had the largest number of SIN list substances and substance groups, according to the SIN Producers List. Shell led the pack with 99 SIN list chemicals, followed by ExxonMobil with 83 and refiner Orlen also with 83. France’s Total with 74 substances, and Hungarian oil and gas company MOL Group with 68, rounded out the top five SIN list producers in the EU.
Other top SIN list producers in the EU include Italian oil company Eni with 65, BP with 62, Spanish oil firm Repsol with 60, Russia’s second-largest oil producer Lukoil with 57 and integrated international oil and gas producer and refiner OMV with 52 SIN list chemicals.
ChemSec also published a SIN Producers List for Investors, which specifically lists the stock exchange-listed companies that put SIN list chemicals on the EU market. Publicly traded consumer products companies on the Producers List for Investors include household products maker Henkel with 12 SIN chemicals, auto components manufacturer Michelin with five and Unilever with two.
The top publicly traded healthcare companies on the list include pharmaceuticals firm Bayer with 11 SIN chemicals, followed by competitor Merck KGaA with five substances.
In 2011, ChemSec and environmental law organization ClientEarth sued the European Chemicals Agency over its refusal to release the names of companies producing what the two groups call some of the most dangerous chemicals in the EU market.
EU Commission officials have promised that all relevant Substances of Very High Concern will be identified and included in the REACH Candidate list by 2020, the first step towards being banned in the EU, ChemSec has said.