Chemicals Overview

For OSPAR purposes, hazardous substances are defined as substances which are persistent, liable to bioaccumulate and toxic (PBT substances), or which give rise to an equivalent level of concern as the PBT substances.

The Dynamic Selection and Prioritisation Mechanism for Hazardous Substances (DYNAMEC) was developed and used as a tool for the OSPAR Commission to select those hazardous substances that needed to be addressed under the Strategy and to identify the substances which should be given priority in OSPAR's work. Selection and prioritisation was based on information on substances' intrinsic properties, using OSPAR cut-off values for PBT properties. A ‘safetynet procedure’ provides guidance on identifying substances that give rise to an equivalent level of concern as the PBT substances. On this basis, OSPAR established in 2002 a List of Substances of Possible Concern and revised the List of Chemicals for Priority Action. Since then, a number of substances have been deselected from the lists based on new information.

In the light of developments in the chemicals sector in the European Community, namely developments under the Water Framework Directive and the regulation on registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (REACH). OSPAR work on the selection and prioritisation of substances has been put on hold. Instead, OSPAR collaborates with the EC on these issues.