MEPs veto a proposal from the European Commission that would lead to the authorization of lead in recycled PVC. The Commission proposed to amend the rules on lead in PVC. As a general rule, 0.1% lead would be tolerated in PVC, but higher concentrations would be allowed for recycled PVC (2% in hard PVC and 1% in soft PVC). With 394 votes in favor, 241 votes against and 13 abstentions, MEPs rejected the Commission’s proposal on Wednesday.
Members of the European Parliament believe that the proposal goes against the principle of the REACH directive, protecting public health and the environment. They emphasize that lead is toxic and that even a low dose can harm health, including irreversible neurological damage. The members are of the opinion that the concentrations in the Commission proposal do not correspond to “safe concentrations”. They underline that alternatives are available.
Parliament’s objection means that the proposal is not accepted by the European Commission. The Commission can now submit an amended proposal or present a new proposal. Parliament believes that recycled PVC should not perpetuate the problem of heavy metals. European producers already started reducing lead in PVC in 2015, due to the voluntary commitment from the PVC industry. Lead is still present in imported PVC.