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Get banned chemicals out of consumer products, Europe demands

Chemicals long-banned by the EU are still being blended into consumer products by recyclers. The problem must end, the European Parliament is expected to signal today.

Parliament will vote today on whether to restrict recyclers from trading in waste containing chemicals banned in virgin materials.

The vote is not on draft legislation, but responds to a European Commission call for views. The Council of Ministers has already made a strong call to detox products and waste.

Doing so would improve recycling and lower chemical exposure that is threatening human fertility rates, among other growing problems.

EEB senior policy officer for chemicals, Tatiana Santos, said:

“The waste sector has a free pass on certain chemical laws. We understand some recyclers even actively oppose chemical restrictions, preferring to turn a blind eye. Detoxifying waste is a challenge, and the sector can only play the cards that product makers deal. But with chemical pollution and exposure getting worse, both product makers and recyclers need to raise their game.”

Parliament is likely to urge the European Commission to complete a ‘non-toxic environment strategy’, something due this year but making little progress.

It will call on commission, states and their agencies to step up regulatory activities to promote substitution of substances of very high concern, and to restrict substances that threaten human health or the environment.

The European Commission is inviting the public to comment on “the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation” until 29 October.