Denmark updates unwanted substances list

Fuel additive MTBE added to revised list of "undesirable" chemicals proposed for comment

Controversial fuel additive MTBE, chlorinated substances, borax and several oil distillates are among the new chemicals contained in a revised list of "undesirable" substances published by the Danish environment protection agency (EPA) on Friday. The list has been sent to interested parties, including industry, for comments by 24 May. The EPA hopes to have a final version ready in July.

Updating of the list, first published two years ago (ENDS Daily 14 May 1998), has been seen as a vindication of the government's decision to promote "soft" regulation of the chemicals sector by trying to curb use of substances with a questionable environmental or health profile before the need for restrictions has necessarily been conclusively proven.

"The list has clearly had a positive impact," an EPA official told ENDS Daily. "Use of some of the substances on it has fallen considerably in the past two years, and while it is hard to establish a direct link, many companies have become much more proactive in their approach. They are clearly acting on the list, well before the time comes for regulation."

Still in draft, the new list contains 68 substances rather than the previous 56. There are 25 new entrants in total, while some 26 have been removed altogether, fulfilling a pledge that the list would be updated regularly to reflect the latest scientific knowledge and practice.

Two pigments - C1 pigment blue 60 and C1 pigment yellow - have been established to be less dangerous than previously assumed. Several other substances - including C1 pigment red 88 and diethyl entriamine - have been removed because their use has fallen to under 100 tonnes a year. Others, such as arsenic and benzene, are off because their use is being regulated in other ways.

Follow Up:
Danish EPA, tel: +45 32 66 01 00, and press release.

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