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FYI: EU COMMISSION BOWS TO PVC INDUSTRY AND USA TRADE PRESSURE TOWEAKEN NEW ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION ON SCRAP CARS
EU COMMISSION BOWS TO PVC INDUSTRY AND USA TRADE PRESSURE TO WEAKEN
NEW ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION ON SCRAP CARS
Brussels, 9 July, 1997 -- Europeans will continue to be exposed to
significant levels of dioxin caused by the disposal of scrap cars,
despite proposed new legislation agreed by the EU Commission today,
The Commission dropped plans to include in the legislation a phase out
of PVC in cars.
"The Commission has bowed to the USA and the PVC industry and weakened
what were originally strong proposals," said Greenpeace Campaigner
Axel Singhofen. "Once again, the EU has surrendered environmental and
health protection to commerical and economic interests."
The aim of the new directive was to promote cleaner and more efficient
material use to reduce the problems of eight to nine million car
scrapped annually in Europe. The toxic and hormone disruptive
properties of PVC over its life cycle are well known and cleaner and
safer substitutes exist.
The original proposal, heralded by EU Commissioner Bjerregaard as
"contributing to the protection of the environment", included a phase
out of toxic materials such as PVC and four heavy metals by the year
2002, and a recycling quota of 80 per cent by 2002 and 90 per cent by
2015. During negotiations, the Commission itself recognised PVC as a
"highly polluting material".
But the proposal was the subject of intense lobbying from the USA
Department of State and the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers
and in the final text, the PVC phase out was dropped altogether. In
addition, toxic heavy metals can still be used provided they are
entirely recycled, the recycling target for 2002 has been postponed to
2005 and the 2015 target lowered to 85 per cent.
Greenpeace said it would urge the EU Parliament to reinstate the
original wording of the text to phase out PVC and heavy metals.
However, it welcomed the Commission's statement that it will produce
proposals to address environmental or health problems connected with
PVC disposal in general.
The recycling of PVC contaminated steel and the burning of PVC waste
in incinerators leads to significant dioxin generation. Dioxin is a
hormone disruptor and human carcinogen. The use of PVC in cars also
leads to leaching of phthalates, some of which are also known hormone
For further information and background materials contact:
Axel Singhofen, Greenpeace International, tel. +32 2 280 1987;
James Gillies, Greenpeace International, tel. +31 20 524 9548
Jackie Hunt Christensen
Food Safety Project Director
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 1st Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
612-870-3424 (direct line)
IATP's Endocrine Disrupter Resource Center: http://www.sustain.org/edrc