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MEPs call for end to lead in recycled PVC

MEPs call for end to lead in recycled PVC


(BRUSSELS) - MEPs on the European Parliament's Environment Committee objected Tuesday to a Commission proposal allowing lead in recycled PVC, citing the need to protect human health and the environment.

The Committee in its resolution objected to a proposal from the EU executive to amend the rules concerning lead concentration, and particularly concerning lead in PVC.

Lead in PVC has been phased out in the EU since 2015 due to the EU PVC industry's voluntary commitment, but lead in PVC continues to enter the EU via imported products.

The Parliament has long held the position that recycling PVC should not perpetuate the problem of heavy metals.

The committee has made clear that it believes the proposed amendments do not protect human health and the environment enough, which is also the primary objective of the REACH regulation.

The Commission regulation proposes restricting the use and presence of lead and its compounds in articles produced from Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a widely produced synthetic plastic, setting a maximum concentration limit of lead of 0,1 % by weight of the PVC material. It also introduces two derogations.

MEPs are particularly unhappy with two proposed derogations for recovered PVC materials, which will be in place for 15 years. One would allow concentration of lead up to 2 % by weight of rigid PVC and the other 1 % by weight of flexible/soft PVC.

MEPs recalled that lead is a toxic substance that can seriously affect health, including irreversible neurological damage, even in low doses. They say the levels proposed by the Commission do not correspond to "safe levels" and underline there are alternatives to PVC available.

They also highlight that recycling should not justify the continued use of hazardous substances, as prevention takes priority over recycling.

The resolution will now be put to a vote at the February plenary in Strasbourg. If Parliament objects within the deadline set of 27 February 2020, the draft measure shall not be adopted by the Commission. The Commission may either submit an amended draft or present a new one.

Draft resolution, European Parliament

REACH regulation

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