The European Union (EU) has announced its plans to expand the scope of lead restrictions under the EU’s Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (also known and the REACH Regulation).
In a Notification submitted to the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Commission proposed to amend a portion of Annex XVII of the Regulation dealing with lead restrictions. Specifically, the proposed change would “prohibit the use of lead and lead compounds in articles produced from polymers or copolymers of vinyl chloride as well as their placing on the market of articles produced from PVC if the concentration of lead (expressed as metal) is equal to or greater than 0.1% by weight of the PVC material.”
The proposed change would also provide extended exemptions for certain rigid and flexible articles composed of recovered PVC materials, provided that suppliers provide product markings attesting to the presence of recovered PVC materials in the product. Fully exempt from the scope of the proposed change are food contact materials, toys, and electrical and electronic equipment, which are currently covered under separate EU regulations.
In its Notification to the WTO, the Commission states that the proposed restriction would reduce the release of lead during the life of PVC articles and reduce direct and indirect exposure to lead.