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Preliminary agreement reached on POP Regulation

21.02.2019 − 

Negotiations have wrapped up on the future EU rules for persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission hammered out a preliminary agreement in their "trilogue" meeting on Tuesday. The deal includes unintentional trace contaminant limit values for the flame retardant DecaBDE and other brominated diphenylethers. The introduction of these limits represents an important change for plastics recyclers, especially those processing material from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and end-of-life vehicles (ELV).

The unintentional trace contaminant value for decaBDE has been set at 10 mg/kg in substances, the EU Council reports. In mixtures and articles, the unintentional trace contaminant value will be set at 500 mg/kg for the sum of all brominated diphenylethers (BDE), including decaBDE.

These limits are consistent with the EU member states’ negotiating position. The European Parliament had voted in favour of a uniform limit value of 10 mg/kg. The recycling industry argued that imposing that limit would effectively end the recycling of plastics from ELV and WEEE. However, the 500 mg/kg limit would bring its own problems, the European Electronics Recyclers Association (EERA) warned last year. As yet, there is no practically applicable testing method validated for concentrations at that level.

The preliminary agreement will now be submitted to the ambassadors of the EU member states for approval, after which it will be sent to the European Parliament and the Council for final adoption. The adoption by the institutions is considered a formality.

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