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Sustainability // Legislation

Legislation

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EU countries postpone classification of Pb-containing mixtures

A committee of EU member state representatives on REACH has agreed to postpone the adoption of a harmonised classification for lead-containing mixtures. The classification was included in the proposed EU Regulation, known as the seventh adaptation to technical progress (7ATP) of the EU CLP Regulation.

The proposed classification says lead-containing mixtures or materials should be classified as a category 1A reprotoxicant at a specific concentration limit (SCL) of 0.03%. Meeting last week, the representatives agreed to withdraw it, so that the proposed Regulation, implementing the 7ATP, could be voted through. 

The vote on the 7ATP had been postponed at the committee’s last meeting, because some countries want a higher concentration limit that will help the recycling of lead-containing materials.

Further work on the testing methods for calculating lead concentration in alloys still needs to be done, before coming to a solution, Chemical Watch understands. Echa is expected to be tasked with the work.

The classification will now be added to the proposal for the ninth ATP. It is not yet clear when these discussions will start. Metals industry representatives welcomed the postponement. “In the next months, we look forward to supporting the EU’s work to evaluate how bioelution tests can be used for classification of inorganic substances and address the lead-specific concentration limit issue, including its potential impact on downstream applications and metals recycling,” says Guy Thiran, Eurometaux director general.

European Parliament Considering Conflict Minerals Regime

As summarised in a recent article in National Law review, the European Parliament is currently considering its opinion on the ‘self-certification’ of importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten, their ores or gold for a future EU conflict minerals regime. The draft regulation as proposed by the European Commission was a mishmash solution aiming to emulate the OECD Guidance on due diligence of minerals, and the US Dodd Frank 1502 legislation but failing on both counts putting forward requirements on importers of not only tin metal, but tin alloys into the EU, while at the same time failing to address import in downstream products. While the Commission proposal is applicable to materials arising in any ‘high risk’ area around the world, it fails to identify where those areas are, and similarly, although stating an ambition to manage all links between resources and conflict, is only applicable to the four metals already covered by Dodd Frank which significantly limits its impact. Many Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) criticized the Commission for a ‘lack of ambition’ with the proposal and are now discussing how to make it both more effective, as well as more appropriate for EU business.

Three Committees of the European Parliament are considering the proposal, with draft opinions from the Committees on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and Development (DEVE) calling for a mandatory rather than voluntary mechanism, and AFTE also extending reporting from importers of metals and alloys, to ‘public-interest entities and large undertakings that manufacture or contract to manufacture products containing [conflict minerals]’ in a similar manner to Dodd Frank. The lead Committee on International Trade (INTA) proposes to make use of existing knowledge and activities under a less damaging voluntary approach. MEPs will be able to amend the draft INTA report until February 26. Information on the legislation 2014/0059/COD and process is available here.

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