The EU plans to supplement Annex XVII of REACH and has published the corresponding draft regulation. With the amendment, the EU forbids the use of lead and lead compounds in the manufacture of PVC articles. In addition, PVC articles may no longer be placed on the market when the concentration of lead in the material is equal to or exceeds 0.1% by weight. Exceptions apply for recycled rigid and flexible PVC materials and for PVC-silica separators in lead batteries.
Annex XVII of REACH lists chemicals or groups of chemicals that pose risks to human health and the environment, so that their manufacture, marketing (sale), or use is completely prohibited or is limited. The lead prohibition can be found at entry 63 in the list. With the prohibition, the EU follows recommendations made by the Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) and the Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC).
Lead compounds are used as stabilizers in the manufacture of PVC because they protect the product from photodegradation. Since 2016, the PVC industry in the EU has voluntarily abstained from the use of lead stabilizers.
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