On November 12, 2019, a group of 34 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and NGO alliances sent a letter to EU environment ministers advising them to not approve the European Chemical Agency’s (ECHA) current restriction proposal on intentionally added microplastic particles to consumer and professional products (FPF reported). The organizations agree that “the scientific data gathered by ECHA is unequivocal: microplastics constitute a serious risk to the environment, a source of pollution that is currently, and undeniably, out of control.” However, they see the current restriction proposal as not adequate. “While we strongly support the approach taken by ECHA to prevent over 400,000 tonnes of microplastics to be added to the EU environment (and to our food and water), the current proposal includes very broad and problematic derogations regarding allegedly biodegradable microplastics and unduly long transitional periods.” They argue that “such derogations and delays will considerably undermine the capacity of the restriction to achieve its objective and should therefore be rejected.”

ECHA has said that it “welcomes” the comments and that they will be used within upcoming discussions in the committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC). It also noted that “the biodegradability of microplastics is indeed one of the issues receiving full attention in this process.” The NGOs have further published and submitted a more extensive set of technical comments on the restriction proposal for review by the ministers and ECHA committees further detailing their position.

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Break Free From Plastic (November 12, 2019). Sent letter. (pdf)

ECHA (October 2, 2019). “Registry of restriction intentions until outcome.”

Clelia Oziel (November 21, 2019). “NGOs urge removal of derogations from Echa microplastics restriction.” Chemical Watch