At the start of 2019, the Danish government will no longer collect taxes for products that contain PVC and phthalates – binders, gloves, aprons, rainwear, and other protective clothing. Officials state that the tax, which was enacted in 2000, has fulfilled its two main purposes. First, manufacturers were to use substitutes for the chemicals. Second, the tax was to reduce the amount of PVC products deposited or incinerated.
Since the original tax was enacted, many of these critical substances have been classified as toxic to reproduction. Some have been included in the REACH list of substances that require authorization; others have been completely forbidden in specific products, such as toys. Four phthalates, DEHP, BBP, DBP, and DiBP have been included in EU Directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS2), which applies to certain hazardous chemicals in electric and electronic devices.
The end of the tax will save the companies involved about €1.75 million annually. The savings are an express desire of the government, so that the competitiveness of such companies can be strengthened.
An NGO, the Danish Ecological Council criticized the end of the tax as counterproductive. The leader of the organization, Christian Ege, fears that the substances that have been successfully restricted in the past will become competitive again.
To avoid exactly that outcome, the government created the Danish Chemicals Forum, a group of experts consisting of representatives of government, industry, and NGOs. The council has started a campaign aimed at products imported into the EU. As part of the campaign, for example, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency will inspect products more closely for legal compliance, with a particularly close eye on the four phthalates BBP, DEHP, DBP, and DIBP.
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