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EEB calls for increased EU regulation on toxic plastics

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has expressed concern over an “unacceptable slowdown” in implementation of chemicals regulation.

A report by the federation called on the Commission to revaluate its implementation of an EU regulation called Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

EEB said delayed decisions by the European Commission on issues such as allowing the recycling of PVC that contains a banned softener called diethylhexyl phthalate (DHEP) are undermining the protection of health and environment.

Roadmap to revitalise REACH’ recommends that the Commission rejects granting authorisations for cases such as this, where safer alternatives are already available in the European market.

EEB senior policy officer for chemicals, Tatiana Santos said: “Unless the authorisation process is properly implemented, REACH will not meet its goal of removing chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment from the market.”

The report also says it is important to know whether toxic substances such as DHEP continue to be manufactured in the EU for export and whether they are imported as neither processes are in the scope of REACH authorisation.

MEPs lobbied the Commission, adopting a non-binding resolution in the European Parliament, to ban the recycling of plastics containing DHEP, used to make soft PVC items such as footwear and floor coverings, over fears it could make male workers sterile.

But the British Plastics Federation (BPF) said the environmental cost of landfilling the material, instead of recycling, outweighed the minimal risk to consumers.

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