07 July 2003 00:00 [Source: ICB]
The European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) has reduced the number of high production volume chemicals giving cause for concern as potential persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBTs) or very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvBs). Of the 94 chemicals on the list, already reduced from 125, it found that 26 should be de-listed, 19 needed further evaluation and 24 were confirmed as PBTs or vPvBs. The remaining 25 need further testing before a decision is made. The ECB working group also agreed that further evaluation was needed for 16 substances not on the list.
Emissions to the environment are continuing to fall, said Cefic in its annual Responsible Care report. It reports year-on-year improvement in emissions of phosphorus (down 75% since 1996) and nitrogen compounds (32%) to water and a reduction in chemical oxygen demand (24%). Emissions of heavy metals and volatile organic compounds have also dropped (27% and 40% respectively). However, emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides remained at 2000 levels.
France's draft environment charter was approved by the council of ministers last week. It is to be inserted as one of the three preambles to the constitution when it is adopted by parliament, or referendum by the end of the year. 'The right to live in an environment that is well-balanced and health-friendly' will then become a constitutional right. Aspects of the charter have been disputed. Its use of the precautionary principle is worrying industry and research for fear it might slow innovation, while plans to replace the 'polluter pays' principle with the obligation to 'contribute to the repair of damages caused to the environment', is not supported by environmentalists.
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