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Europe mulls total ban on cadmium in plastics

January 15, 2013

BRUSSELS (Jan. 15, 11:30 a.m. ET) — The European Commission is considering extending its restriction on cadmium in plastics from the current 16 materials listed in Annex XVII of REACH to all plastic materials.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) said it will examine the case for an outright ban and has issued a call for evidence to the plastics industry.

Cadmium compounds have traditionally been used as stabilizers in PVC materials. In 2011, the Commission banned the use of cadmium in PVC, although European PVC producers had been phasing out their use before then. The European PVC industry is also phasing out the use of lead stabilizers.

ECHA invited interested parties to submit comments on the cadmium ban by Feb. 11 via an online questionnaire available on the ECHA website.

It said: “In particular, the agency seeks to identify any additional plastic materials — made in the EU or imported, for example, in consumer articles, and not covered by the current restriction — which might contain cadmium or cadmium compounds.”