The European Food Safety Authority recently issued its preliminary assessment on a controversial French study which, for the first time in history, provides evidence confirming fears of the long-term toxicity of certain types of genetically modified organism (GMOs). Much criticism has been voiced against the existing regulation of GMOs by both member states and the general public.
The European Economic and Social Committee has delivered an opinion on the proposed revision of the EU Batteries Directive. The amendment relates to the exemption contained in the directive concerning the use of cadmium in batteries intended for use in cordless power tools. While broadly welcoming the proposed revision, the committee has voiced doubts about certain elements of the proposal.
A study on the potential for reducing mercury pollution from batteries, prepared by an independent consultancy for the European Commission, has recommended the phasing-out of mercury use in button cell batteries within two years of adoption of the relevant legislation. The overall objective of a ban would be to reduce the environmental impacts of mercury.
The Council of the European Union has formally approved the recast of the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. The directive aims to increase the collection, reuse and recycling of used electronic and electrical equipment and to reduce electronic and electrical waste. Among other things, the directive promotes the 'producer responsibility' principle.
The Official Journal recently published EU Regulation 392/2012 on the energy labelling of household tumble dryers. The regulation is part of the implementing measures called for by the EU Energy Labelling Directive. The directive is aimed at providing consumers with the relevant information to enable them to choose appliances on the basis of their energy and resource efficiency.
Eight new substances have been added to the authorisation list included in Annex XIV of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation. Once a substance has been included on the list, its placing on the market and use within the European Union is prohibited after a 'sunset date'. A company wishing to use the substance after that date must apply for specific authorisation.
The European Chemicals Agency has announced the most commonly found "substances of very high concern" (SVHCs) in goods that are commonly bought by EU consumers. The list of SVHCs published by the agency is said to be the first of its kind. EU producers and importers of foreign goods must notify any SVHCs in their products if certain conditions are met.
Recently, the European Union's Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement published a facts report, which covers specific aspects of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals regulation. A total of 791 inspections were carried out in the 19 participating countries, including the largest EU member states. Overall, non-compliance was found in 20% of the companies inspected.
It has been announced that the European Commission has begun its work on the impact assessment study being carried out for the EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) II Directive. The commission had planned an extensive study into the RoHS II Directive in order to extend its scope and include new products and product categories which had been excluded from RoHS I and ensuing recast proposals.
A draft report published in 2011 shed light on which products may soon be affected by EU environmental rules under the EU Ecodesign Directive. According to the European Commission, there is a delay in establishing a final plan – although this has not slowed down work on implementing other aspects of the directive. In particular, several new product categories are being scrutinised for improvements in their design.
In a recent judgment, the ECJ ruled on questions referred to it by a German court, finding that honey containing traces of pollen derived from genetically modified maize may not be marketed without prior authorisation, regardless of the fact that the introduction of the pollen in question was unintentional or accidental, and irrespective of the proportion of GM material contained in the honey.
The European Chemicals Agency has published proposals to identify 20 chemicals as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). Once the substances are placed on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Candidate List of SVHCs, new obligations will arise for some suppliers of articles that contain the substances when those articles are supplied to customers within the European Union.
A new draft report sheds light on which products may soon be affected by EU environmental rules under the EU Ecodesign Directive. Companies are reminded that products regulated under EU ecodesign law that do not comply with the relevant requirements will not qualify for CE marking and consequently cannot be placed on the market in the European Union.
The European Chemicals Agency has issued a helpful shortened version of its guidance documents on the requirements for substances in articles, which are set out in the EU Regulation Concerning the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals. The shortened guidance provides a number of clarifications regarding the obligations on companies which place articles on the European market.
A new regulation has been published which extends the existing ban on the presence of cadmium in products to cover articles made of plastic materials, articles of jewellery and brazing sticks. The use of cadmium in most plastics has been prohibited on the EU market since 1992; the European Commission considers that the availability of suitable substitutes now justifies a ban on the substance in all plastics.
EU Regulation 327/2011/EC has been published in the Official Journal, imposing a novel ecodesign measure on manufacturers and importers of fans. The new regulation establishes ecodesign requirements for the placing on the market or putting into service of fans, including those integrated in other energy-related products covered by the framework EU Ecodesign Directive.
The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the European Commission's proposal to recast the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive. The European Parliament and the EU Council earlier thrashed out details of a recast that both could finally accept. Thus, the adoption of the recast directive, which is scheduled for early 2011, is likely to be a mere formality.
The deadline for the registration of chemical substances, preparations and articles that contain substances which must be registered according to the EU Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals has passed. Businesses which should have registered by the deadline but failed to do so may well see the sale of their goods on the EU market being disrupted.
The European Parliament's Committee for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has published its final report, proposing changes to the European Commission's earlier proposal for a recast EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. Should the European Parliament vote to accept all of the proposed amendments, the EU Council must also approve the proposals before the directive can be adopted.
The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of imposing a full-scale prohibition on the placing on the market of timber which has been illegally harvested and on products made from such timber. The agreement is a clear victory for the European Parliament and has been hailed as an important breakthrough in the global battle against carbon dioxide emissions.