Plastics manufacturing firms may have to adjust their processes ahead of the introduction of a new law concerning cadmium. In a move to better protect the health of EU citizens and reduce pollution, cadmium will be banned in plastics and jewellery products from December 2011 under new rules laid out by the European Commission.
Cadmium has been prohibited in the EU in a number of plastic articles since 1992, but was still allowed in some rigid PVC as at that time alternatives were not available on the market. PVC is used in a number of packaging applications such as closures for bottles, pallets, shrink sleeves for bottles, tamper-evident bands and stretch wrap films. Since alternatives became available, the European PVC industry decided
to phase out cadmium from all PVC as part of its Vinyl 2010 programme.New legislation:
The new legislation prohibits cadmium in all plastic products while
encouraging the recovery of PVC waste for use in construction products. The Commission says that cadmium is a carcinogenic to which consumers, including children, risk exposure through skin contact or through licking.
Since cadmium is also toxic for the aquatic environment, the ban will protect consumers as well as reduce environmental pollution. The ban will be adopted as an amendment under REACH listed in Annex XVII of the Reach Regulation.
According to the Commission, the ban on cadmium in plastics will have also benefits for industry, encouraging more PVC recovery and recycling.
“As PVC is a valuable material that can be recovered a number of times, the new legislation allows the re-use of recovered PVC containing low levels of cadmium in a limited number of construction products, without danger for the public or environment,” the commission said in a statement.
The ban also includes the inclusion of cadmium in jewellery and brazing sticks, which are used to join together dissimilar materials, but will not apply to the photovoltaics (PV) industry, the environmental committee of the European parliament has said.
For more on the cadmium ban coming in November under REACH regulation, review the European Commission’s press release. Related EVISA Resources EVISA Link database: Cadmium toxicity EVISA Link database: Industrial use of cadmium EVISA Brief summary: REACH Related News: EVISA News, December 1, 2010: ECHA reports the final REACH registration numbers - Nearly 25,000 dossiers EVISA News, September 25, 2010: The
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last time modified: June 7, 2011