EU round up – ECHA revises proposed cadmium in paint ban

16 December 2014

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has proposed revised restrictions on the use of cadmium and its compounds in paints, allowing trace elements under certain circumstances.

The revised proposal also bans cadmium where it is more than 0.01% by weight of a paint, (0.1% for paints with a zinc content of more than 10% by weight), while the earlier proposal had no maximum, simply saying that cadmium "shall not be used in paints”.

Also, painted articles are banned from sale across the EU under the new rule, if cadmium is equal to or greater than 0.1% by weight of the paint on the painted article.
That said, under ECHA’s revised proposal, EU rules would say the unintentional presence of cadmium and its impurities would be banned in paints, increasing the responsibility of companies to ensure the metal is not present.

An ECHA note said: "The reason for the amendment is that ‘use’ could be interpreted to mean intentional use only, thus the restriction might be understood as not covering potential cadmium impurities. Secondly, as the current entry does not provide a limit value for cadmium in those paints, the enforcement of the restriction is challenging.”

Other EU regulatory news affecting the paints and coatings sector:

The new European commissioners for paints and coatings sector nominated to serve under incoming president Jean-Claude Juncker have survived their European Parliament confirmation hearings. Barring a last minute portfolio shuffle by Juncker, Malta’s Karmenu Vella will become environment commissioner; Poland’s Elżbieta Bieńkowska, internal market, industry and entrepreneurship commissioner; and Vytenis Andriukaitis, of Lithuania, health commissioner.

The new team will serve for five years from November 1.

• Meanwhile, responsibility for administering and developing European Union (EU) biocides policy has been moved from the European Commission’s directorate general for the environment (DG environment) to the DG for health and consumers.

• Further restrictions on exporting EU paints and coatings to Russia have been imposed by the EU Council of Ministers. It named nine Russian companies that cannot, henceforth, under any circumstances receive coatings on the EU’s list of ‘dual use’ goods with potential military uses. In July, the EU said all such goods would be banned from sale to Russia where there was concern they might be used to strengthen the Russian military. The newly targeted companies include arms, ammunitions and security technology manufacturers: JSC Sirius, OJSC Stankoinstrument, OAO JSC Chemcomposite, JSC Kalashnikov, JSC Tula Arms Plant, NPK Technologii Maschinostrojenija, OAO Wysokototschnye Kompleksi, OAO Almaz Ante, OAO NPO Bazalt.

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