New EU water pollutant priority list proposed

Eleven chemicals already slated for 20-year phase-out, at least eleven more could follow

The European Commission today proposed a list of 32 "priority substances" earmarked for early regulation under the new EU water framework directive. The proposal will now be forwarded for debate and adoption by governments and the European parliament. In the meantime, the Commission will begin drawing up proposed emission limits and water quality standards for the substances. These proposals are projected to emerge within two years of the list's adoption.

The basic list contains a group of eleven "priority hazardous substances" targeted for a cessation of emissions within twenty years. A further eleven chemicals formally "under review" may be added to this list at the end of 2003. As reported by ENDS Daily earlier this month, the list of 32 is almost identical to a first proposal made a year ago but then withdrawn due to last minute changes to the framework directive (ENDS Daily 5 January).

In one significant change, however, all brominated diphenyl ethers (BDE) have been dropped from the list with the exception PentaBDE. This follows the emergence of more detailed data on the group from ongoing EU risk assessments. Though not currently on the list of substances under review, the other BDEs may be added later. BDEs are mainly used as flame retardants and have come under regulatory scrutiny in proposals on electronic waste (ENDS Daily 13 June 2000).

The list comprises the following priority substances:

* Eleven priority hazardous substances: pentabromodiphenyl ether, cadmium and its compounds, short-chained chlorinated paraffins, hexachlorobenzene, hexachlorobutadiene, hexachlorocyclohexane, mercury and its compounds, nonylphenols, pentachlorobenzene, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, tributyltin compounds.

* Eleven priority substances under review (may be upgraded to priority hazardous status): anthracene, atrazine, chlorpyrifos, di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), endosulfan, lead and its compounds, naphthalene, octylphenols, pentachlorophenol, trichlorobenzenes, trifluralin.

* Ten priority substances: alachlor, benzene, chlorfenvinphos, 1,2-dichloroethane, dichloromethane, diuron, isoproturon, nickel and its compounds, simazine, trichloromethane.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111, a press release and the new proposal.

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