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Parliamentary questions
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24 June 2010
Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-2996/2010

As explained in the first paragraph of the question, zinc was included in the current review of the Priority Substances list on the basis of the results of the EU's risk assessment (EU RAR) carried out pursuant to Council Regulation 793/93/EEC(1).

The EU RAR(2) drew conclusion (iii) (‘There is a need for limiting the risks; risk reduction measures which are already being applied shall be taken into account’) in relation to regional aquatic ecosystems. It also stated that ‘In regions where conclusion (iii) is drawn, it is strongly recommended that the available information on known and potential sources of zinc emissions and region-specific natural background concentrations of zinc are carefully taken into account before taking decisions about risk reduction measures.’

In its recommendation of May 2008 on risk reduction measures for zinc (2008/464/EC)(3), the Commission recommended that ‘The Member States should provide information to the Commission on the contribution of zinc sources and pathways to the aquatic environment, on possible controls and also on the levels of zinc in the aquatic environment, in order to consider possible inclusion of zinc in the next review of Annex X to Directive 2000/60/EC’.

The current review of the Priority Substances list started already in 2007 with a list of more two thousand substances. For many of these, an extensive body of monitoring data has been gathered over recent years. The review provides the most suitable opportunity to thoroughly examine these monitoring data, including the data provided by Member States for zinc.

The Commission is conducting the review according to the principles of the Risk Assessment, and is being supported by a working group of experts from Member States and stakeholder groups. The examination involves analysis of the monitoring data in conjunction with that of the available information on the properties and effects of each substance.

The technical work for the review is ongoing and no conclusion has yet been reached on whether the chemistry, environmental concentrations, behaviour and toxicological effects of zinc support the inclusion of this substance in the Priority Substances list. The findings of the technical work will inform the Commission proposal on revision of the list, due early in 2011.

(1)OJ L 84, 5.4.1993.
(2)http://ecb.jrc.ec.europa.eu/esis/ – Zinc – Final RAR
(3)OJ L 160, 30.5.2008.

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