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Letters sent to EU Environmental Ministries asking for tighter control over chemicals

In October, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) wrote letters to Environmental Ministries in Germany, France and The Netherlands asking them to set ambitious standards for chemicals during the revision of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS)

The RoHS Directive on the restrictions of hazardous chemicals in electrical and electronic equipment (2002/95/EC) is currently under review. In October, the WECF sent letters to the German, French and Dutch Ministry of Environment (the German letter was cosigned by the Friends of the Earth) to ask them to add more hazardous chemicals to the restricted list.

WECF called for a ban of all organobromine and organochlorine compounds including as a minimum TBBP-A (tetra bromo bisphenol A), chlorinated paraffins such as MCCPs, SCCPs (short chain & medium chain chlorinated paraffins) and chlorinated cycloaliphatic compounds such as HBCDD (hexabromocyclododecane) and PVC and all phthalates including as a minimum DEHP, BBP, DBP, DINP and DIDP.

All these substances constitute significantly health and environmental risks, while alternatives already available. Many electrical and electronic equipment producers have already stopped using them and actively communicate this in the context of their environmental policy. Of specific concern is the endocrine disrupting potential of many of these chemicals. Endocrine disruptors affect the development of the body’s vital organs and hormonal systems. Infants, children and developing fetuses are more vulnerable to exposure. These groups are also at greater risk from the cumulative effects of endocrine disruptor exposure. And as was the case with the chemical diethylstilbestrol (DES), parents’ exposure to certain chemicals may produce unexpected and tragic effects in their children, even decades later.

As RoHS is embraced globally by other political entities. Setting a high environmental and health standard in EU during the current directive revision will set a bench mark globally.

Last updated on 10 June 2011

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