“The EU continues its worrying practice of undermining its own proposals to protect human health and the environment by adding unacceptable loopholes”, commented the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) the 8th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Geneva, Switzerland.
The COP agreed to ban decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE), a toxic, bioaccumulative, persistent, endocrine disrupting flame retardant. However, the EU pushed for and supported blanket exemptions to this ban. This was done against the recommendations of the Convention’s own scientific committee. The use of DecaBDE will be allowed in new cars and spare parts for nearly another 20 years. Manufacturing of aircrafts with DecaBDE will likely continue until 2050 and its use in aircrafts until 2100. The exemption was pushed by the EU on behalf of the EU aerospace industry. This was done although Boeing explicitly stated that this exemption is not needed. CIEL states “these loopholes guarantee the continued contamination of people, food, air, and water for decades to come”.
A similar loophole strategy has been pursued by the EU Commission with regard to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Probably in the upcoming week, the EU will adopt proposed criteria to identify endocrine disruptors. They contain an exemption that would allow some biocides and pesticides specifically designed to interfere with hormone systems to continue unregulated. “This loophole undermines the effectiveness of scientific identification criteria that should protect the health and safety EU citizens and future generations”, CIEL wrote in a comment.
- Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Washington, D.C., USA