Clampdown on the cards

Published: Thursday 15 July 2004

Draft proposals released by the European Commission (EC) suggest that over 200 hazardous chemicals could be banned in the eu. The curbs would be enforced through the 29th amendment to the eu's 1976 directive on marketing of chemicals and limiting their use. They would include chemicals newly classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction.

Overall, 346 chemicals are listed in the working document's annexure as category 1 (probable) or category 2 (possible) mutagens or carcinogens. However, 144 of these are simply being reclassified and were, therefore, already banned for public sale. Of the 202 substances to be newly prohibited, many are not in use. The EC has already proposed two amendments to the marketing and use directive this year. The first will clamp down on polyaromatic hydrocarbons in extender oils and tyres. The second will ban public sale of the chemicals toluene and trichlorobenzene.

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