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  • Dale Allen

EU Finally Sets Plans to Tackle Hazardous Substances Poisoning Our Planet

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

Hello everyone.

I came across a great bit of news earlier this morning that will be great for tackling the use of hazardous substances that are deemed a major concern to public health and the planet.

A great deal of these substances are present in the waste we produce on a daily basis, but there are still substances of concern in many products that we also use day-to-day.

The product packaging then of course ends up on a landfill site, adding to the poison seeping into the Earth.

The good news is that the European Commission have announced a series of proposed actions to be taken between now and the end of 2019 that will hopefully clean up the critical problem of these substances of concern in our products, our health, and that of the environment.

Their proposed actions, which encompass addressing the link between chemicals and product and waste legislation, are a part of the EU's circular economy action plan.

Those actions fit alongside their plans to eliminate the use of micro-plastics which have a devastating effect on our environment and are found in a staggering amount of our everyday products.

During last years assessment of the EU rules - applicable to waste management, chemicals and the products we use them in - the EU Commission identified four critical issues:

Confusing Rules on Which Wastes and/or Chemicals are hazardous

The EU executive stated that the rules that currently dictate which chemicals or waste is actually hazardous are not well aligned and plan to address this problem by releasing documented guidance on proper waste classification in the not too distance future.

This guidance is meant to assist those businesses that work in waste retrieval and disposal.

Non-aligned EU Rules on by-product and end-of-waste criteria

The EU commission plan to improve cooperation between new and existing chemical and waste management networks which can only lead to safer guidelines and regulations.

Their published document states that the EU Commission will create an EU platform for all currently adopted EU and national by-product and end-of-waste criteria. There are also plans for the Commission to begin a study into better understanding how their member states implement and substantiate guidelines on end-of-waste.

Lack of Information on Products Containing Substances of Concern

While developing a set of 'working procedures' to ensure only 'clean' products are imported into the EU, the Commission has said it will conduct a study to gauge the feasibility of using different information systems, strategies and even tracing systems to allow a better flow of information between supply chains, consumers and waste disposal experts.

This will hopefully give them the information they need to decide if a compulsory system would be the best way to fix this problem.

Alongside the development of these guidelines, they are also creating simplified procedures for the restriction of mutagenic, carcinogenic and reprotoxic substances in consumer products.

Legacy Substances

Legacy substances are those substances that are subject to past restrictions, but are still present in certain products or items that were recycled from older materials containing the hazardous substance.

These legacy substances cannot be recycled now due to those substances.

To tackle this problem the EU Commission will develop a 'specific decision-making methodology' to assist in the decision making process of the reliability of waste containing substances of concern.

If you want to know more about the proper method of disposal for specific items containing substances of concern you can take the new COSHH Risk Assessor Certification™. It's free!

The International Association for Chemical Safety Free Accreditation Course

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