ECHA has assessed the health and environmental risks posed by intentionally added microplastics and has concluded that an EU-wide restriction would be justified. If adopted, the restriction could result in a reduction in emissions of microplastics of about 400 thousand tonnes over 20 years.
The definition of microplastic is wide, covering small, typically microscopic (less than 5mm), synthetic polymer particles that resist (bio)degradation. The scope covers a wide range of uses in consumer and professional products in multiple sectors, including cosmetic products, detergents and maintenance products, paints and coatings, construction materials and medicinal products, as well as various products used in agriculture and horticulture and in the oil and gas sectors.
The European Commission is proposing to restrict formaldehyde in specific toys under Appendix C of Annex II of the Toy Safety Directive. The restriction will apply to six substances found in toys, including polymeric, resin-bonded wood, textile, leather,paperand water-based toy materials.
The European Commission is also proposing to amend point 13 of part III of Annex II of the Toy Safety Directive in regard to aluminium. The draft amendment aims to lower the migration limits for aluminium.
The exact dates for when the restrictions are put in place are not yet confirmed but the final date for comments is February 2019.
EU member approved the proposal to restrict the phthalates DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP in articles. The four phthalates are on the REACH candidate list of SVHCs for their reprotoxic as well as endocrine disrupting properties. Under the proposal they would be restricted to a concentration equal to or below 0.1% by weight individually or in any combination in any plasticised material in articles used by consumers or those used in indoor areas. The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers now have three months to scrutinise the measure and the restriction will then be published in the EU’s Official Journal and will apply 18 months after the entry into force to products produced both in and outside of the EU.
China’s National Consumer Product Safety Commission has recently consulted on a draft list of substance restrictions in consumer products. The list combines a number of existing Chinese standards and, where no domestic standard exists, it refers to restrictions based on EU and other foreign legislation. The draft is similar to the consumer restrictions set out in REACH Annex XVII - includes 103 chemicals and proposes limit values for their use in consumer products, such as toys, textiles, coatings, paints, decoration materials and furniture.
The European Commission has published Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/227 amending Annex XVII to REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006. The Regulation introduces a new restriction on the use of the flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) under entry 67 of Annex XVII of REACH. This Regulation shall be effective from 02 March 2017, and the condition of the restrictions for this substance shall be accomplished by 02 March 2019. Please click here to learn more about the condition of restriction listed under entry 67 of Annex XVII of REACH.
China is planning to ban commercial logging in all natural forests by the end of 2016. This is an extension of a program which commenced in 1998 with a purpose to allow forests to recover from decades of over-logging and to help restore forest ecosystems and their resilience. This brief explores some of the anticipated economic and ecological implications of the forthcoming expansion of restrictions on commercial logging in China’s natural forests.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce has revealed that US$ 17 million worth of timber was recently found to have been smuggled from Myanmar to China via illegal routes avoiding official checkpoints along the road to Muse, Myanmar's border town with China. Most of Myanmar’s trade is with China and Thailand and with Chinese import restrictions on some agricultural products from Myanmar, local exporters find it difficult to get health recommendations from China for their exports, creating a growing illegal trade.
Environmental groups have welcomed President Rousseff’s veto of key articles of the legislation, but warned that it remains to be seen how effective enforcement of the new law will be. The veto was on key articles which would have reduced requirements upon landowners to maintain forest cover, lifted restrictions on forest clearance near rivers and given an amnesty to landowners who had carried out deforestation prior to 2008 – an article which the Union of Concerned Scientists warned would have set a dangerous precedent encouraging landowners to continue with forest clearance on the assumption that further amnesties would follow in the years to come.
Major amendments to Brazil’s Forest Code are on the brink of passing into law. The changes allow reserve areas in the Amazon to be reduced from 80 to 50% and reduce the restriction on forest clearance near rivers. Agriculturalists have welcomed the amendments.