Predicting the future is no easy feat without the help of a time machine. Often, that’s a good thing. But, sometimes, it’s not so good – one example being with restricted substances. If these substances are included in products, the results can be expensive fines, loss of market share and stock value, and (worst of all) damage to brand reputation. Many companies are struggling even to avoid use of substances that are already regulated. But, with new substances being added to restricted lists all the time, that may not be enough. How do we avoid using substances that are likely to become unusable during the lifetime of the product?
The latest release of our GRANTA MI software can help. It includes a new version of the Product Risk data module, which combines data on the eco-properties of materials with up-to-date regulatory information for substances associated with those materials. This data can be linked to data on your in-house materials and processes. Thus it becomes possible both to evaluate the risk associated with generic materials in order to inform early-stage design, and to assess specific materials grades later in design, or when analyzing existing products.
Now here’s the clever predictive bit! The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) hav released their latest recommendations of substances for authorisation which focusses on substances with carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic, bioaccumulative, or other serious hazards. These substances of very high concern (SVHCs) will eventually all need authorisation to be used in the EU. ECHA prioritises the substances that it believes are of most concern, based on their hazards to humans or the environment and how widely they are used. The Granta data uses the same methodology as ECHA to produce an SVHC priority score based on their annual production tonnages and how they are used. This score, alongside predicted lists available in our Restricted Substance data, helps predict which of these substances are likely to be recommended for authorisation next which have not yet been officially prioritized. Using this methodology allows us to produce a far more extensive list of substances, which may become restricted in the future, for our GRANTA MI users.
If you are looking for alternatives for your materials that may contain SVHCs, then you can take this indicator (and a host of others) into account. This can help you evaluate how your company may be impacted in the future by the substances that you or your supply chain may use, and help you find alternatives to avoid the risk of material obsolescence.
Perhaps not a time machine, but an effective early warning system is the next best thing.