Sweden Sues EU Commission

The Swedish Environment Ministry has sued the EC Commission over an authorization decision made in September of last year. The EU had approved the manufacture and use of two lead chromate pigments by Dominion Colour Corporation, a Canadian firm, although the pigments had long been classified as substances of very high concern (SVHC) and have been included in REACH Annex XIV (authorization list) since 2010. The suit appeared on February 6 in Official Journal of the European Court of Justice. Denmark has already announced its support for the Swedish action.

In concrete terms, Sweden accuses the EU of violating Article 60 (4) and Article 55 of REACH and the precautionary principle. Sweden claims that the EU has inadequately evaluated the use of the pigments and has ignored the presence of suitable substitutes on the market. The Swedish government announced the suit against the EU in a press release in November 2016.

Several environmental organizations, among them the Swedish organization ChemSec, had legally contested the EU decision. In its press release, ChemSec emphasized that many EU countries had not used lead pigments for decades and that Sweden had not used them for more than 30 years. The core of the controversy involves pigments Red 104 and Yellow 34. Both are used in the manufacture of industrial coating and in lane markings on highways.

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