The European Union recently announced plans for a “biggest ban ever”. Namely, it is planned to ban up to 12,000 toxic chemicals that include chemical compounds used in the production of various plastics such as, for example, PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PVC is still widely used in the sign & display industry despite a growing number of PVC-free solutions.
New EU guidelines on restrictions under the “Sustainability Strategy for Chemicals” are considered the first step in banning toxic chemicals related to cancer, hormonal disorders, reprotoxic disorders, obesity, diabetes and other diseases.
Industry groups say up to 12,000 substances could fall under the new proposal. According to the European Environment Agency (EEB), that would be the biggest ban on toxic chemicals in the world ever.
“Chemical controls in the EU are usually very slow. With this strategy, the EU is planning the bravest “detoxification” we have ever seen. Lobbyists in the petrochemical industry are shocked by what is now on the table. The new plan promises to improve the safety of almost all products, ”said Tatiana Santos, EEB Chemical Policy Representative.
The report states that the plan applies to entire classes of chemical substances for the first time. These include all flame retardants, bisphenols, PVC plastics, toxic chemicals in disposable diapers, and PFAS, also known as “eternal chemicals” because of the time it takes for them to decompose naturally.
More than 190 million synthetic chemicals are reported to be registered globally. A new industrial chemical is created every 1.4 seconds on average. It is estimated that around 200,000 chemicals are used in the EU, and global sales more than doubled between 2000 and 2017. By volume, three-quarters of those produced in Europe are dangerous.
In the last 13 years, about 2,000 substances have been banned, more than in any other region in the world. It is now estimated that between 4,000 and 7,000 different substances could be banned by 2030.