Concawe Review Special REACH

06 Sep 2022

Following the REACH registration phase, ECHA began the substances evaluation phase in 2012. The proof of similarity and subsequent justification of read-across between Concawe’s substances, which is necessary to limit the number of vertebrate animal studies, is especially challenging given their UVCB nature which makes it impossible to determine with precision every constituent or its concentration. This Review summarises some important progress that Concawe has achieved to determine the structural and biological similarity of our substances, and to speed up and improve the assessment of their human health and ecotoxicity hazard.

The first article in this Review describes a novel approach developed by Concawe to position our gas oils using a hydrocarbon space mapping approach to select a minimum number of representative samples for higher-tier vertebrate testing, which, altogether, are representative of a full set of gas oil substances and can be used to assess their human health hazard. The second article summarises the findings of a ready biodegradability testing programme on six 3-ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, for which improvement had to be developed to increase the relevance of the tests, as our substances present specificities which make them difficult to test. The third article presents a novel project that Concawe has developed with SINTEF and other researchers to assess the biodegradation of many constituents simultaneously by testing full substances and using advanced analytical methods. The recent update to Petrorisk—the model developed by Concawe to calculate the environmental risk assessments needed for the REACH registration dossiers of our substances—is described in the final article of this Review.

With the development of the toxicology and ecotoxicology requirements resulting from the European Green Deal and of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, the science and the knowledge developed by Concawe, as shown by the examples in this Review, will become even more important for the activities of fuel manufacturers in the future.