PVC, bisphenols, additives… The EU will ban thousands of harmful chemicals

Toxic compounds in nappies, PFAS in pizza boxes or PVC in shoes: the EU is set to ban entire families of ultra-widespread but harmful chemicals, according to a European Commission plan unveiled Monday.

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The document details the future restrictions envisaged as part of the extensive review of European chemicals legislation, currently being negotiated between Brussels and member states, “ by targeting the substances most harmful to human health and the environment “.

The works are ” very advanced » for six families of substances examined by the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency), the States and the Commission with a view to a project of progressive prohibition, even before the adoption of a new methodology for the management of chemical substances in the EU expected from 2025.

Pizza boxes, paints, shoes, coatings…

It includes the group of PVCs (polyvinyl chlorides), plastics that are very little recyclable and used in a wide range of products (toys, food packaging, textiles, shoes, furniture, etc.), as well as their additives (phthalates, PFAS, heavy metals, etc.). ), accused of being linked to cancer or obesity. Many, such as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), present in food packaging (pizza boxes, etc.), paints, varnishes or coatings, accumulate in the body.

Other target groups: all flame retardants (flame retardants in mattresses, clothing, car seats, etc.) and all substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR) in articles for children, in particular nappies.

Also concerned are all bisphenols, used in the manufacture of plastics and food containers, and considered endocrine disruptors.

Almost all everyday products concerned

This plan targets both entire families of components and their banning for “ a wide range of uses, industrial, professional, consumer “, explains the Commission.

All substances of the same family are considered as dangerous as the most harmful “and this plan” covers thousands of chemical compounds “Explains in a press release the NGO European Environmental Bureau (EEB), which anticipates a ban within two years and complete in 2030.

The petrochemical industry will fiercely oppose it (…) Flame retardants and bisphenols are widely used, it takes political courage to ban them. Almost all manufactured goods in stores and our homes will be affected “says Tatiana Santos of EEB.

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