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European Parliament Committee strengthens draft biocides law, but concerns remain

On the 23 June, the European Parliamentís Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) voted on some 500 amendments to the Commissionís European Commissionís proposal for a revised EU biocides law. The vote was welcomed by health and environment groups, yet problems remain.

NGO were pleased to see the following developments:

- Special vulnerability of children and pregnant women to the harmful effects of biocides - something that was absent from the original Commission proposal.

- "Combination effects" of exposure to biocides must be included in their risk assessment.

- Requirements on specific safety assessment methods, and consumer information through mandatory labelling of nanomaterials.

Continuing concerns

NGOs were concerned before the vote that the ENVI committee would not go far enough to ensure that all hazardous products be removed from the market. Concerns remain about the following:

- Too many hazardous biocides could be left on the market as a result of loopholes in the exclusion criteria.

- Uncertainty over the EU centralised authorisation system and data requirements for health toxicity and eco-toxicity.

- The time needed for an accurate product assessment and expert exchange seem in danger of being seriously impaired.

Next moves

The report from the ENVI committee will then be voted on by the whole parliament in September 2010. Health and environment NGOs urge MEPs to address these questions and loopholes.

Written on 30 June 2010.



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