In a press release published on January 21, 2020, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament adopted a resolution rejecting a proposal from the European Commission (EC) to increase the allowed concentration of lead in recycled polyvinylchloride (PVC). The proposed change would restrict the use and presence of lead in virgin PVC to a maximum of 0.1% by weight. However, it suggested two derogations for 15 years allowing recycled PVC materials to have up to 2% lead by weight in rigid PVC and 1% lead by weight in flexible/soft PVC. Committee members “believe that the levels proposed by the Commission do not correspond to ‘safe levels’ and underline there are alternatives to PVC available.” Further, the committee “highlight[s] that recycling should not justify the continued use of hazardous substances, as prevention takes priority over recycling.”

The adopted resolution will go to a plenary vote in February 2020. The EC can still provide an amended draft proposal or submit a new one.

Update: On February 12, 2020, it was announced that the members of the European Parliament voted to rejected the proposal put forward by the EC to increase the allowed concentration levels.

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European Parliament (January 21, 2020). “No more lead in PVC to protect public health, say MEPs.”

Caterina Tani (January 23, 2020). “Envi objects to proposed EU Commission lead restriction.Chemical Watch

ChemSec (February 10, 2020). “This is why EU Parliamentarians should say no to lead in recycled PVC this week.

Stefan Scheuer (February 10, 2020). “MEPs to vote on contaminated PVC recycling – A clean or a dirty circular economy for Europe?CHEM Trust

European Parliament (February 12, 2020). “Parliament objects to lead in PVC to protect public health and the environment.”

Health and Environmental Alliance (February 12, 2020). “MEPs block EU Commission proposal that would allow toxic lead in recycled PVC.”

Sustainable Plastics (February 12, 2020). “European Parliament blocks the use of recycled PVC.”

Chemical Watch (February 12, 2020). “MEPs shoot down Commission proposal to allow lead in recycled PVC.