EU plans curbs on hazardous substances

European commission proposes marketing restrictions on ammonium nitrate fertilisers, DEGME, DEGBE, cyclohexane, MDI

The European commission has proposed new EU marketing and use restrictions on five chemical substances. The plans cover ammonium nitrate fertilisers, the solvents DEGME, DEGBE and cyclohexane, and methylenediphenyl diisocyanate (MDI).

The commission tabled the plans last week under the 1976 "limitations directive" on dangerous substances and preparations, following a series of risk assessments and consultations with industry.

Under the proposal ammonium nitrate fertilisers with high nitrogen content (more than 20 per cent) would be banned from public sale. Fertilisers for agricultural use would be allowed to contain up to 28 per cent nitrogen. These fertilisers are highly explosive when mixed with certain other substances. They are believed to have triggered the explosion of a chemical plant in France in 2001 (EED 05/11/01).

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