EU bans last uses of toxic metals purifier

Non-ferrous metals industry must end all hexachloroethane consumption by mid-2003

Europe's non-ferrous metals industry will have to end all remaining uses of the environmentally toxic chemical hexachloroethane (HCE) by the end of June 2003 under a directive announced today by the European Commission.

HCE is used as a purifier of non-ferrous metals. The EU banned most of its uses in the industry in 1997 because it is acutely toxic to aquatic organisms and bioaccumulative. However, limited continued usage was allowed in some non-integrated aluminium foundries and in the production of certain magnesium alloys.

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