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22 March 2002


MEPs reject broader Flame Retardant ban and support the Council proposal for deca-BDE and octa-BDE Risk Assessments to be taken into account

The European Parliament Environment Committee voted yesterday in second reading on the EU Directive proposal to restrict hazardous substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment waste.

Parliamentarians (MEPs) called for any ban of the substances mentioned in the RoHS Directive to be harmonized over Europe, starting on 1st January 2006.

Similarly to the 1st Reading, MEPs rejected by a large majority draft amendments to ban all brominated flame retardants.

Recognising the fire safety benefits of PBDEs in terms of saving lives and preventing injuries, Parliamentarians supported an amendment allowing such substances to be used where no alternatives ensuring equivalent consumer safety levels were available.

A large majority of the Parliament Committee supported the Council proposal to re-evaluate the flame retardants deca-BDE and octa-BDE once their EU scientific risk assessments have been completed (expected later this year).

The Committee included reference to halogenated flame retardants in a review of the future Directive, to take place by 2004. This amendment was opposed by the EU Commission on first Reading in order not to prejudge and limit the scope of the future review and is likely to be opposed again.

The Parliament will vote in Plenary early April and will send its report to the Council. The Directive Proposal is expected to go into Conciliation as views still differ between the Parliament and EU Member States. Final draft of the Directive is not expected before July.

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