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Sustainability // Legislation

Tin to be impacted by EU lead restrictions?

Friday, 21 July 2017

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has been asked to submit a report on the restriction of lead in hunting shot due to ongoing concerns about toxicity and its impact on wildlife, which could boost the use of tin in alloys as an alternative.

The hunting shot market in the EU is fragmented between lead, steel, tungsten and bismuth shot although there is no data detailing the breakdown of each type in the EU. Tin is not used in isolation but rather alloyed with bismuth and tungsten to produce hunting shot for use in wetlands. Several EU countries have already banned lead shot voluntarily.

The EU’s Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) will reach an opinion on proposals included in the final report in March 2018 and Socio-Economic Committee (SEAC) will send their opinions to the European Commission later in the year, which could result in an expansion of restrictions on the use of lead, specifically on its use or possession in wetlands as a minimum standard.

ITRI View: The likely further restriction of lead shot will support the use of alternatives, which should have a positive impact on the volume of tin consumed in this niche area. The EU is also exploring further regulation on lead use in other areas relevant to tin, with restrictions on the sale of PVC articles containing lead compounds as stabilisers in concentrations greater than 0.1% proposed in a recent ECHA report. However, the phase-out of lead stabilisers in the EU is already complete having been replaced primarily by calcium based stabilisers. It is therefore unlikely that restriction of lead stabilisers in existing PVC articles will have any significant impact on the volume of tin stabilisers used in the production of PVC.

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