The European Commission (EC) has finalized the first bans of chemical substances under the European Union’s (EU’s) registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals (REACH) provisions. Under the bans, musk xylene, 4,4’-diaminodiphenylmethane (MDA), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) must be phased out by various deadlines between 2014 and 2015. Depending on the substance, companies have 24 to 30 months to apply for authorizations to continue to use the substances in specific applications.

The six banned substances were prioritized from a “candidate list” of 46 chemicals the European Chemicals Agency had considered “chemicals of very high concern.” Under REACH procedures, all substances were nominated for bans by EU member states because of their hazardous properties and concerns about their uses. Musk xylene is used as a fragrance in cleaning products. BBP and DEHP are plastic softeners. DBP is a solvent, and HBCDD is a flame retardant. MDA is used in the production of polyurethane and is a hardener for resins and solvents.