EU Environment Report: April 2012 | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
EU Environment Report: April 2012

EU Environment Report: April 2012

In this issue:

(1) Chemicals
(a) New ban on cadmium in batteries proposed by EC
(b) Commission review of nanosilver
(c) Sweden considers new BPA ban for children's food packaging
(d) Dry cleaning activities to be restricted in France
(e) New lead ban proposed in Sweden under REACH
(f) New ECHA Guidance on data sharing under REACH    
(2) Climate Change: EU Parliament says "no" to new Commission fuel tax proposal
(3) Waste: ECJ rules on disclosure requirements on waste shipment documents
(4) Other: MEPs and EU member states agree on Seveso II revisions
(5) The Month Ahead: Workshops & Conferences

New ban on cadmium in batteries proposed by EC
The European Commission has proposed a ban on cadmium in batteries for cordless power tools (CPT), one of the last remaining uses of the substance permitted under the Batteries Directive. The proposed ban would take effect from 1 January 2016. The Batteries Directive bans the sale of batteries containing more than 0.002% cadmium by weight, and currently exempts CPT, alarm systems, and medical equipment.

Commission review of nanosilver
The European Commission's committee on emerging and newly-identified health risks (SCENIHR) is currently collecting information on the health and environmental effects of nanosilver used in various medical and consumer products. The consultation was prompted by MEPs who called for a nanosilver ban in electrical and electronic products under the RoHS directive, and some NGOs which have advocated for restricting its use in consumer goods until a more thorough risk assessment has been carried out. Nanosilver, which is antimicrobial in nature, has caused some concern due to its effects on bacteria in sewage works and rivers, and due to the possibility that its continued use could lead to antibiotic resistance. The consultation runs until 4 June 2012. The information received by SCENIHR will then be incorporated into a commission review expected to be completed by early 2013.

Sweden considers new BPA ban for children's food packaging
Sweden has notified the European Commission and other member states of its proposal to ban bisphenol A (BPA) from packaging for food and drink products aimed at children under the age of three. The ban would mainly affect jar lids for baby food, as most children's food sold in Sweden already comes in BPA-free packaging. The Swedish government is considering restrictions in other product areas and has asked Kemi, Sweden's chemical agency, to investigate BPA in products such as thermal paper used for tickets and till receipts, and also its use in epoxies used to reline old water pipes. Kemi's final recommendations are expected in December 2013.

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