The Environment Committee of the European Parliament has adopted a resolution rejecting the proposal from the European Commission to increase the allowed concentration of lead in recycled PVC. The proposed change would restrict the use and presence of lead in virgin PVC to a maximum of 0.1% by weight of the PVC material. It also suggests two derogations:

(i)   To allow a concentration of lead up to 2% by weight of rigid PVC

(ii) To allow a concentration of lead up to 1% by weight for flexible PVC

Both derogations would be in place for 15 years.

The Committee believes that the levels proposed by the Commission do not correspond to ‘safe levels’ and underline the fact that there are alternatives to PVC available. Further, the Committee highlights that recycling should not justify the continued use of hazardous substances as prevention must take priority over recycling.

The Construction Products Association (CPA) understands that lead in PVC has been phased out in the EU since 2015 due to the EU industry ‘s voluntary commitment. However, lead in PVC continues to enter the EU via imported products.

The European Parliament has called on the Commission to withdraw the draft regulation and submit a new one, if this does not happen then the recycling industry is likely to suffer.