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New rules on bisphenol A in food contact materials

16-02-2018

A new European Commission regulation updating the rules concerning the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials was published on 14 February 2018 and will apply as of 6 September 2018. The rules aim at better protecting children under three years of age, by extending the ban on the use of BPA to include, in addition to infant feeding bottles, drinking cups or bottles intended for infants and young children. This is an updated edition of an 'At a glance' note originally published in January ...

A new European Commission regulation updating the rules concerning the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials was published on 14 February 2018 and will apply as of 6 September 2018. The rules aim at better protecting children under three years of age, by extending the ban on the use of BPA to include, in addition to infant feeding bottles, drinking cups or bottles intended for infants and young children. This is an updated edition of an 'At a glance' note originally published in January 2018.

Authorisation of pesticides in the EU: With a focus on glyphosate

01-02-2018

In the European Union, plant protection products, often referred to as 'pesticides', are subject to a dual approval process: active substances are approved at European Union (EU) level, provided they meet a number of criteria. Commercial plant protection products containing one or more active substances are subsequently authorised at Member State level if they satisfy certain conditions. A controversy has emerged since 2015 over the renewal of the approval of glyphosate. One of the active substances ...

In the European Union, plant protection products, often referred to as 'pesticides', are subject to a dual approval process: active substances are approved at European Union (EU) level, provided they meet a number of criteria. Commercial plant protection products containing one or more active substances are subsequently authorised at Member State level if they satisfy certain conditions. A controversy has emerged since 2015 over the renewal of the approval of glyphosate. One of the active substances most commonly found in broad-spectrum herbicides in the world, glyphosate is mainly used in agriculture. The controversy started as a result of diverging assessments of its carcinogenicity: the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans, while the European Food Safety Authority found it unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans. The European Chemicals Agency later concluded that glyphosate did not classify as a carcinogen. Several national authorities outside the EU also came to the same conclusion. The European Commission eventually renewed the approval of glyphosate for five years in December 2017. The views of stakeholders and Member States on the topic have been strongly divided. The European Parliament has called for phasing out all uses of glyphosate by the end of 2022. Parliament is expected to vote, in February 2018, on the creation of a special committee on the Union's authorisation procedure for pesticides.

New rules on bisphenol A in food contact materials

31-01-2018

A new European Commission regulation updating the rules concerning the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials is expected to enter into force in the coming weeks. The rules aim at better protecting young children by extending the ban on the use of BPA to include, in addition to infant feeding bottles, drinking cups or bottles intended for infants and young children.

A new European Commission regulation updating the rules concerning the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials is expected to enter into force in the coming weeks. The rules aim at better protecting young children by extending the ban on the use of BPA to include, in addition to infant feeding bottles, drinking cups or bottles intended for infants and young children.

Approval of glyphosate: Latest developments

10-11-2017

Glyphosate, one of the world's most widely used active substances in herbicides, has become the subject of controversy. A proposal by the European Commission to renew its approval for five years failed to gather a qualified majority of Member States and is to be submitted to an appeal body. The European Parliament has called for glyphosate to be phased out by 2022.

Glyphosate, one of the world's most widely used active substances in herbicides, has become the subject of controversy. A proposal by the European Commission to renew its approval for five years failed to gather a qualified majority of Member States and is to be submitted to an appeal body. The European Parliament has called for glyphosate to be phased out by 2022.

European Chemicals Agency: Role and governance

29-08-2017

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is a decentralised agency of the European Union. Established in 2007, it is based in Helsinki. Its main mission is to contribute to the implementation of European chemicals legislation for the benefit of human health and the environment, as well as improving innovation and competitiveness. ECHA carries out technical, scientific and administrative tasks under four EU regulations: the regulation on registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals ...

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is a decentralised agency of the European Union. Established in 2007, it is based in Helsinki. Its main mission is to contribute to the implementation of European chemicals legislation for the benefit of human health and the environment, as well as improving innovation and competitiveness. ECHA carries out technical, scientific and administrative tasks under four EU regulations: the regulation on registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH); the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation; the Biocidal Products Regulation; and the regulation on export and import of hazardous chemicals. It may also initiate regulatory processes and take limited regulatory decisions under these regulations. ECHA comprises a number of bodies active on specific aspects. These include the Member State Committee which is involved in key processes under REACH, three advisory scientific bodies (Committee for Risk Assessment, Committee for Socio-economic analysis and Biocidal Products Committee), a Forum aimed at strengthening enforcement, a Board of Appeal deciding on appeals against decisions taken by the ECHA, and a Management Board, which acts as the Agency's governing body. These bodies are supported by a secretariat employing 564 staff at the end of 2016. ECHA's annual budget, which is about €110 million, has two main sources: a subsidy from the EU budget, and fees levied on companies for services carried out under the four relevant regulations. In 2016, fees and charges accounted for 46 % of expenditure. An evaluation carried out for the European Commission in 2017 found that the ECHA carries out its work effectively and efficiently, is relevant to societal needs and brings EU added value, although the evaluation also highlighted some areas where there is room for improvement, for instance regarding IT and communication.

Agreement on criteria for endocrine disruptors

11-07-2017

On 4 July 2017, the European Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SC PAFF), made up of experts from the EU Member States, voted on the Commission's draft regulation setting out criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors in the area of plant protection products (PPPs). The vote was preceded by several meetings in which the Commission presented revised versions of its drafts. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU now have three months to examine the agreed ...

On 4 July 2017, the European Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SC PAFF), made up of experts from the EU Member States, voted on the Commission's draft regulation setting out criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors in the area of plant protection products (PPPs). The vote was preceded by several meetings in which the Commission presented revised versions of its drafts. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU now have three months to examine the agreed text.

EU policy and legislation on pesticides: Plant protection products and biocides

19-04-2017

Substances used to suppress, eradicate and prevent organisms that are considered harmful are grouped under the term ‘pesticide’. The term includes both plant protection products (used on plants in agriculture, horticulture, parks and gardens) and biocidal products (used in other applications, for example, as a disinfectant or to protect materials). Pesticides can be useful in a number of circumstances, for example, in overcoming diseases and increasing agricultural yields. However, they are not without ...

Substances used to suppress, eradicate and prevent organisms that are considered harmful are grouped under the term ‘pesticide’. The term includes both plant protection products (used on plants in agriculture, horticulture, parks and gardens) and biocidal products (used in other applications, for example, as a disinfectant or to protect materials). Pesticides can be useful in a number of circumstances, for example, in overcoming diseases and increasing agricultural yields. However, they are not without their disadvantages – above all, their environmental impact, the risks that they pose to human health and their effects on crop protection. European Union pesticide legislation is designed to ensure a high level of protection for human health and the environment and to improve the functioning of the internal market. Plant production products and biocides are subject to a dual approval process: active substances are approved at EU level and products are subsequently authorised predominantly at Member State level. Furthermore, standardised maximum levels are set for the residues of plant protection products in food, and a framework for action is focused on sustainable pesticide use. A number of aspects of European Union policy on pesticides can be considered as either opportunities or challenges, in particular, issues surrounding costs for the industry, the approval process, and sustainability. The Commission is currently assessing the legislation on plant protection products and their residues. The conclusions of that study are expected by the end of 2018.

EU policy and legislation on chemicals: Overview, with a focus on REACH

19-12-2016

This publication presents an overview of European Union policy on chemicals. It describes EU chemicals legislation, in particular the REACH Regulation, as well as other relevant legislative acts and international agreements on chemicals. However, it does not address the regulatory framework applicable to pesticides (plant protection products and biocides) in depth. The publication presents information available about the costs and benefits of EU chemicals legislation and gives an overview of the ...

This publication presents an overview of European Union policy on chemicals. It describes EU chemicals legislation, in particular the REACH Regulation, as well as other relevant legislative acts and international agreements on chemicals. However, it does not address the regulatory framework applicable to pesticides (plant protection products and biocides) in depth. The publication presents information available about the costs and benefits of EU chemicals legislation and gives an overview of the opportunities and challenges associated with the current legal framework. It outlines relevant views of stakeholders and the European Parliament. Finally, the publication lays out actions that the European Commission is expected to take in the years to come. Chemicals are the building blocks of life. They are present in us, around us and in the products we buy. They are used in almost all industries and play an important role in virtually all economic sectors. The EU chemicals sector represents 1.1 % of EU gross domestic product and accounts for about 1.2 million jobs. Chemicals enable us to live more comfortable lives, yet they may also have adverse effects on the environment and human health. The cornerstone of EU chemicals legislation is the 2006 Regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (widely known as REACH). Other major legislative acts relate to the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals, in order to ensure that hazards are clearly communicated to consumers and workers; the export and import of hazardous chemicals and the control of persistent organic pollutants, partly implementing international agreements; the prevention of major accidents involving dangerous chemicals; and the management of pesticides. The European Commission is currently carrying out fitness checks on the chemicals legislation. Actions in the coming years are expected to relate to a range of topics, such as the process of application for authorisation, nano¬materials, a strategy for a non-toxic environment, registration requirements for low volume substances, and polymers.

EU’s Pesticide Risk Assessment System: The Case of Glyphosate

15-09-2016

This report summarises the presentations and discussions of the workshop on the “EU’s pesticide risk assessment system: the case of glyphosate”, held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, 24 May 2016. The aim of the workshop was to provide background information and advice for the Members of the ENVI Committee on the effects of glyphosate on human health. During the first part of the workshop, the EU policy context and the state of play of the issue were presented. An update on the ...

This report summarises the presentations and discussions of the workshop on the “EU’s pesticide risk assessment system: the case of glyphosate”, held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, 24 May 2016. The aim of the workshop was to provide background information and advice for the Members of the ENVI Committee on the effects of glyphosate on human health. During the first part of the workshop, the EU policy context and the state of play of the issue were presented. An update on the environmental effects of glyphosate on biodiversity was also given. Moreover, the status of the precautionary principle, a legal principle which underpins the use of this substance, was discussed. The second part of the workshop focused on the challenges and options based on the available research and evidence. The different findings of the IARC and EFSA were presented. In particular, the different methods of the evaluation, as well as the difference between hazard assessment and risk assessment, were covered during this session. Furthermore, the ongoing ECHA’s evaluation of glyphosate, which is being carried out under the CLP Regulation, was illustrated. Finally, the perspectives from civil society and doctors were also taken into account. While the divergences during the sessions showed how polarised the issue is, it was outlined that a decision on the glyphosate matter would be crucial in order to bring to an end a situation of uncertainty. This workshop and the respective document were prepared by the Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

External author

Yoline KUIPERS CAVACO, Matteo MASCOLO, Alicia McNEILL and Rachel DEMPSEY

How the EU budget is spent: LIFE programme

16-02-2015

LIFE, the EU's only funding programme entirely devoted to environmental objectives, is meant to act as a catalyst for developments in this policy area. Its achievements since 1992 include: improved conservation and restoration of some 4.7 million hectares of land; higher air quality for some 12 million people; waste prevention of around 300 000 tonnes; and recycling of a further 1 million tonnes. For 2014-20, LIFE has two components: environment and climate action. In addition, the EU 'mainstreams ...

LIFE, the EU's only funding programme entirely devoted to environmental objectives, is meant to act as a catalyst for developments in this policy area. Its achievements since 1992 include: improved conservation and restoration of some 4.7 million hectares of land; higher air quality for some 12 million people; waste prevention of around 300 000 tonnes; and recycling of a further 1 million tonnes. For 2014-20, LIFE has two components: environment and climate action. In addition, the EU 'mainstreams' these objectives into many funding programmes, with the aim of allocating 20% of its 2014-20 resources to climate-related expenditure.

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