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Limits on exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work: Third proposal

30-08-2019

The European Commission has proposed to amend Directive 2004/37/EC by expanding its scope and by including and/or revising occupational exposure limit values for a number of cancer- or mutation-causing substances. The initiative is proceeding in steps. The first proposal of May 2016 covered 13 priority chemical agents, the second, of January 2017, a further seven. The current (third) proposal addresses an additional five. Broad discussions with scientists and the social partners fed into all three ...

The European Commission has proposed to amend Directive 2004/37/EC by expanding its scope and by including and/or revising occupational exposure limit values for a number of cancer- or mutation-causing substances. The initiative is proceeding in steps. The first proposal of May 2016 covered 13 priority chemical agents, the second, of January 2017, a further seven. The current (third) proposal addresses an additional five. Broad discussions with scientists and the social partners fed into all three proposals. Reacting to the Commission's set of measures as a whole, trade unions have acknowledged the importance of further improving the existing framework. Actors on the employers' side have underlined the need to ensure that values are proportionate and feasible in terms of technical implementation. After adoption by the Parliament and Council, in March and May respectively, based on a text agreed in trilogue in January 2019, the final act was signed by the presidents of the co-legislators on 5 June 2019. Directive (EU) 2019/983 entered into force on 10 July 2019 and is to be transposed into national law within two years, by 11 July 2021. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Explosives precursors: Fighting the misuse of chemicals by terrorists

13-03-2019

Since 2008, in line with its action plan to enhance the security of explosives, the European Union has considered regulating chemicals that could be used to produce homemade explosives to be a priority. A first legislative act in this regard – Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors – was adopted in 2013. The 2015 Paris and 2016 Brussels terrorist attacks and their operating modes, which were based on the use of homemade explosives, led to an assessment of the ...

Since 2008, in line with its action plan to enhance the security of explosives, the European Union has considered regulating chemicals that could be used to produce homemade explosives to be a priority. A first legislative act in this regard – Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors – was adopted in 2013. The 2015 Paris and 2016 Brussels terrorist attacks and their operating modes, which were based on the use of homemade explosives, led to an assessment of the efficiency of the 2013 regulation. To take into account existing challenges, and increase stakeholders' ability to implement and enforce restrictions and controls under the regulation, the European Commission launched its revision in February 2017. On 17 April 2018, it adopted a proposal for a new regulation on explosives precursors. Following trilogue negotiations, an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council was reached on 5 February 2019. The Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), approved the agreed text on 19 February 2019. The vote in plenary is due to take place in April 2019. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Protection of workers from exposure to carcinogens or mutagens: Third proposal

17-12-2018

This detailed appraisal focuses on the process and evidence base used in the IA for setting the limit values for cadmium and beryllium, notably in light of some knowledge gaps and methodological challenges identified in the IA in relation to the number of workers exposed and the estimation of the burden of disease. The appraisal concludes that the IA has relied on a vast and updated amount of information, including scientific journals, guidelines, manuals, surveys, published by authoritative research ...

This detailed appraisal focuses on the process and evidence base used in the IA for setting the limit values for cadmium and beryllium, notably in light of some knowledge gaps and methodological challenges identified in the IA in relation to the number of workers exposed and the estimation of the burden of disease. The appraisal concludes that the IA has relied on a vast and updated amount of information, including scientific journals, guidelines, manuals, surveys, published by authoritative research centres, publishers and international organisations, making the overall analysis sufficiently convincing and robust. As regards the limitations of the analysis, which are transparently acknowledged, the analysis carried out by the external contractors and endorsed in the IA recognises that the full current and future disease burden deriving from historic exposures to cadmium and beryllium is not captured; consequently, the disease burdens may be underestimated. As regards the estimated number of workers exposed to cadmium, the value of 10 000 workers considered by the external contractors for their modelling (in addition to a higher value of 30 000), and taken over in the IA, is coherently justified in light of the recognised wide divergences among the different estimates. This value appears to be reasonable, based on the availability of data at national and EU level, and the way some of them were gathered. As regards the estimated number of workers exposed to beryllium, the figure of 54 071 workers exposed in the EU 28 (excluding the construction sector) identified by the external contractor and used in the IA appears to be plausible, based on the justifications provided. However, it is acknowledged that higher exposure levels would imply higher costs and benefits at all target OEL values.

Revision of the Explosives Precursors Regulation

10-07-2018

Explosives precursors can be found in various chemical products used by consumers, general professional users, and industrial users, for example, in detergents, fertilisers, special fuels, lubricants and greases, water treatment chemicals. They can be used by terrorists to produce home-made explosives (HME). In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment (IA) and an evaluation, which have been performed at the same time. The ...

Explosives precursors can be found in various chemical products used by consumers, general professional users, and industrial users, for example, in detergents, fertilisers, special fuels, lubricants and greases, water treatment chemicals. They can be used by terrorists to produce home-made explosives (HME). In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment (IA) and an evaluation, which have been performed at the same time. The IA has attempted to provide a rather detailed, albeit mainly qualitative, analysis of the various types of impacts, disregarding some limitations to obtain data, such as a risk of exposing vulnerabilities in Member States and of jeopardising ongoing investigations and prosecutions. The IA notes that many SMEs are not part of the EU level industry associations, which have been consulted while drafting the ex-post evaluation. A question arises if the SMEs have been targeted at the stakeholder consultation in any other way, which appears not to be the case. The public consultation took less than 12 weeks, which is not in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines.

Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors: Implementation Appraisal

29-05-2018

Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HMEs). Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, applicable since September 2014, has two general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HMEs and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate ...

Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HMEs). Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, applicable since September 2014, has two general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HMEs and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate uses. The regulation establishes a system of restrictions and controls on a number of explosives precursors with the aim of limiting the general public's access to these substances. The regulation also establishes an obligation for economic operators to report suspicious transactions, disappearances and thefts of explosives precursors. Evidence collected through the Commission's evaluation and stakeholder consultation confirms the existence of significant challenges related to the application of the regulation. These include a fragmented landscape of restrictions and controls across Member States (which apply an outright ban, a licensing or a registration regime, or a combination of these); insufficient awareness along the supply chain about rules and obligations arising from the regulation; and a lack of clarity about certain provisions that focus particularly on the identification of products that fall within the scope of the regulation and the identification of legitimate/professional users. Lack of clarity as to the application of the regulation to online marketplaces is yet another problem, given the absence of an explicit reference to e-commerce in the regulation. Non-inclusion of all threat substances in the list of restricted explosives precursors is seen as yet another important challenge, and so is the perceived inflexibility of the procedure for adding new threat substances to the list, especially in view of the need to react quickly to new and evolving threats. In light of the above, in April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment and an evaluation.

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.

Limits on exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work

22-01-2018

The European Commission proposes to amend Directive 2004/37/EC by expanding its scope and by including and/or revising occupational exposure limit values for a number of cancer-causing chemical agents. According to the Commission, this would improve workers' health protection, increase the effectiveness of the EU framework and promote clarity for economic operators. Overall, the proposal received a broad welcome from stakeholders. After completion of the legislative procedure at first reading in ...

The European Commission proposes to amend Directive 2004/37/EC by expanding its scope and by including and/or revising occupational exposure limit values for a number of cancer-causing chemical agents. According to the Commission, this would improve workers' health protection, increase the effectiveness of the EU framework and promote clarity for economic operators. Overall, the proposal received a broad welcome from stakeholders. After completion of the legislative procedure at first reading in the European Parliament and the Council, the presidents of the co-legislators signed the final act on 12 December 2017. The directive applies as from 16 January 2018.

Chemicals and the circular economy: Dealing with substances of concern

02-10-2017

Unlike the traditional linear economic model based on a 'take-make-consume-throw away' pattern, the circular economy is an economic model based on sharing, leasing, reuse, repair, refurbishment and recycling, in an (almost) closed loop. One of the challenges associated with this model is the presence of substances of concern in products, which risk being passed on to waste and subsequently recycled. A large number of European Union (EU) legal acts are relevant to the theme of substances of concern ...

Unlike the traditional linear economic model based on a 'take-make-consume-throw away' pattern, the circular economy is an economic model based on sharing, leasing, reuse, repair, refurbishment and recycling, in an (almost) closed loop. One of the challenges associated with this model is the presence of substances of concern in products, which risk being passed on to waste and subsequently recycled. A large number of European Union (EU) legal acts are relevant to the theme of substances of concern in material cycles. They relate to three broad areas: chemicals, products and waste. The European Commission is expected to publish a communication on the interface between these policy areas by the end of 2017. The main challenge in relation to chemicals and the circular economy is increasing recycling and reuse, while making sure consumers are not at risk from exposure to substances of concern that may be present in products and passed on to waste. More specific challenges relate, among other things, to long-term exposure, lack of information, trade aspects and implementation of EU law. Increased policy coherence in the current regulatory framework could help the situation. More specifically, elements of possible remedies include: disseminating information about the presence of substances of concern in products, reducing and substituting them, and improving the management of substances of concern that cannot be substituted. However, there may be some difficulties in implementing these solutions, in particular regarding the administrative burden and costs. The European Parliament supports the development of non-toxic material cycles so that recycled waste can be used as a major, reliable source of raw materials. Stakeholders' views on the topic are mixed.

Kommande evenemang

01-03-2021
Decarbonising European industry: hydrogen and other solutions (online event)
Seminarium -
STOA
01-03-2021
Hearing on Transport of live animals in third countries
Utfrågning -
ANIT
01-03-2021
Exchange of views with HR/VP Josep Borrell
Utfrågning -
INGE

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