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Commission Plows Ahead to Unban a Very Hazardous Flame Retardant and Lays Itself Open to a Legal Challenge (press release)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: health news, Natural News, nutrition

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Despite opposition from Member States, the European Parliament and leading electronic industry players, the European Commission has decided to go ahead and adopt a decision to revoke the phase-out of DecaBDE. This phase out would have had to be applied as of July 2006 under the EU directive on restriction of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

The Commission has based its decision on the consumer part of the UK Deca risk assessment, even though only last week the UK government put the environment part of the risk assessment on hold again. The environmental risk assessment is to be revised in light of a constant stream of very worrying new evidence, which will be discussed by Competent Authority of Member States on existing EU Chemicals Regulation in November.

Member States, who are required to adopt or reject the Commission’s exemption proposal under regulatory procedures, were unable to reach an agreement on whether or not to support it over the summer period.

The European Parliament, however, has sent a strong signal to both institutions by adopting a resolution on July 6, which overwhelmingly called on the Council to oppose the Commission’s proposal. During parliamentary committee discussions, MEP Caroline Jackson suggested that a plenary resolution should be followed by legal action taking the Commission to the European Court of Justice. Six European environment ministers have also registered their opposition to the Commission’s proposal in writing earlier this year, stating the Commission has overstepped its mandate.

“We fail to understand why the Commission is going against both the Parliament and many Member States’ advice, and even against their own scientific committee, which strongly recommended the need for risk reduction measures of DecaBDE. This is relevant because less harmful alternatives are available and being used by industry. DecaBDE should have been banned across the board a long ago, as it is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, either by itself or in its breakdown products. Instead, Environment Commissioner Dimas pushed to revoke the existing ban, well knowing that it is not only widespread in top predators and in the Artic, but that it has also been found in human mother milk. This is a deeply saddening illustration of the new corporate understanding of the present Commission: defending the short term interests of even the dirtiest industries is IN, long term protection of human health and the environment is OUT” stated Karolina Ruzickova from Health Care Without Harm Europe.

Christian Farrar-Hockley of EPHA Environment Network goes on to say “By reversing its original ban of this chemical, leading companies such as Dell, Apple, and Sony who have invested in alternatives will be put at a competitive disadvantage by laggard companies and importers who could choose to continue using this hazardous flame retardant. Regulatory uncertainty, in this case, is not good for electronic companies and not good for our health”.

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