EU Recasts Regulation on Persistent Organic Pollutants

You are here

July 2, 20193E Monitor TeamBlog

The European Union has recast its regulation on persistent organic pollutants (POP) to clarify confusion resulting from multiple amendments since its original framing in 2004. The new Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 on persistent organic pollutants was issued on 20 June 2019.

Verisk 3E Analysis

Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 replaces Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 to become the new mechanism for implementing the Aarhus Protocol on POPs to the regional UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution and the global Stockholm Convention on POPs within the bloc.

As before, it restricts the production, use, import and export of these harmful carbon-based chemicals, which include pesticides and industrial chemicals such as DDT and PCBs, and it establishes rules to ensure the safe and environmentally sound management of stockpiles and wastes containing POPs. It requires member states to make yearly reports on their production and use of POPs, as well as to report on their progress implementing the other provisions of the regulation every three years.

Among the main changes, the recast regulation:

  • Charges the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) with providing advice and risk assessments on substances likely to be proposed for listing in the Stockholm Convention or the Arhus Protocol, as well as providing scientific and technical input on measures to prevent the production and use of new POPs or new industrial chemicals
  • Revises reporting and monitoring obligations to streamline and simplify the processes in order to reduce the administrative burden on member states
  • Aligns definitions and terminology with those used in other relevant EU chemical legislation
  • Involves the forum for exchange of information on enforcement in the coordination of the enforcement tasks
  • Outlines rules for exemptions from control measures for closed-system, site-limited intermediates
  • Revises rules for managing stockpiles of current or future POPs to protect human health and the environment
  • Instructs member states to share information on measures taken at national level to identify and assess contaminated sites, rather than treating it as confidential
  • Sets limits for the flame retardant decaBDE. The limit for the substance as an unintentional trace contaminant is 10 mg/kg. In mixtures and articles, the limit is set at 500 mg/kg (with a review clause) for the sum of all brominated diphenylethers (BDE), including decaBDE, with specific exemptions for use in aircraft, motor vehicles and electrical and electronic equipment.

For further details, please review the full text of the recast regulation here.

Business Impact

Companies involved in the manufacture, use or management of POPs within the EU should review the recast regulation for potential impacts on their operations.