European Commission Issued Guiding Criteria and Principles for the Essential Use Concept

13 May 2024

On 22nd April, the European Commission adopted guiding criteria and principles for the 'essential uses' of the most harmful chemicals  allowing their use:

  1. when the use of hazardous chemicals is necessary for health and/or safety and/or critical for the functioning of society
  2. and when there are no acceptable alternatives.

The original communication can be viewed here. If the criteria are fulfilled, the substance can continue to be used for that purpose for a certain period of time. Further explanations of the precise meaning of the Essential Use Concept (EUC) have been delegated to detailed provisions that should be set in specific EU legislation applying this concept.

In order to be critical for the functioning of society, the use and the technical function of the substance in that use must be critical in order to provide resources or services that must remain in service for society to function (e.g. ensuring the supply of energy and critical raw materials).