Most EU governments last week signalled their support for Dutch calls for a complete ban on sales and use of white asbestos or chrysotile. While blue and brown asbestos have already been banned under EU legislation, member states have found it harder to agree an EU-wide ban on white asbestos even though several have done so unilaterally. Proposals by the European Commission's industry directorate DGIII to introduce a ban were halted earlier this year when a scientific committee failed to agree on the risks posed by the material, used in some cements and brake linings, and argued that there was insufficient evidence about the risks posed by potential substitutes. However, at a meeting of EU social affairs ministers, the Dutch delegation tabled a declaration calling for a ban. All but three countries - Spain, Portugal and Greece - said they supported this. Meanwhile, ENDS Daily understands that the UK government last week presented new evidence to the Commission on substitutes in the hope of persuading scientists of the case for a ban. The social affairs Council called on the Commission to propose new measures under EU worker protection legislation to limit worker exposure to the substance.
EU Council of Ministers, tel: +32 2 285 6111.
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