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ECHA to send proposed restriction on microplastics to EU Commission

December 10/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA; Helsinki, Finland) says it will send its restriction proposal on microplastics to the European Commission following the adoption of the proposal by ECHA's two committees, reported Chemweek.

According to ECHA, its Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) has adopted an opinion on a restriction proposal that would ban microplastics in products such as cosmetics, detergents, and fertilizers and could lead to a ban on their use as soft infill on artificial turf sports pitches. The target of the proposed restriction is to prevent more than 500,000 metric tons of releases of intentionally added microplastics over a 20-year period, ECHA says.

Earlier this year, ECHAs Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) concluded that an EU-wide restriction under the EUs Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation is the most appropriate means to address the risk of billions of small, solid plastic particles polluting the environment. SEAC also reached conclusions on the expected benefits and costs to society of the proposal, it says.

ECHA notes that other products such as paints and inks may also contain microplastics, but their use does not always lead to environmental releases, so these uses should not be prohibited but would need to be reported to ECHA to ensure that residual releases are monitored and could be controlled. Suppliers would also be required to provide instructions on how residual releases can be minimized, it says.

The total cost of the restriction to European society, over a period of 20 years, is estimated to be EUR10.8 billion (USD13.1 billion) or EUR19.1 billion depending on how environmental risks from the granular infill material, mainly from shredded car tires, are addressed, ECHA says. The costs cover the need to reformulate mixtures and replace microplastics with alternative materials, and the need for authorities to enforce the restriction, it says.

Restrictions under REACH are proposed by the Commission, voted on by EU member states in the REACH committee, and scrutinized by the European Council and European Parliament.

As MRC wrote previously, in mid-October, 2020, ECHA welcomed the European Commissions EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and says it looks forward "to supporting its implementation". With its scientific and technical competency, the ECHA can play a key role in the various actions outlined in the strategy to work towards a toxic-free environment to protect people and the environment from hazardous chemicals, it said.

We remind that Russia's output of chemical products rose in October 2020 by 7.2% year on year. At the same time, production of basic chemicals grew in the first ten months of 2020 by 6.3% year on year, according to Rosstat's data. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the January-October output. October production of polymers in primary form grew to 857,000 tonnes from 852,000 tonnes in September. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 8,340,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 17%  year on year.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, PP, PE, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Russia.
Category:General News
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