EU member states have rejected MEPs’ call for stricter limits for one of the most harmful chemicals in waste, during inter-institutional talks.
“We know we had a problem [with chemical pollution] … but there was no political will to be more ambitious,” Slovak liberal MEP Martin Hojsík, one of the lead negotiators on the file, told EUobserver.
EU countries and MEPs reached a deal late on Monday (20 June) on the proposal that sets limits for harmful chemicals in waste — in a bid to prevent them from being recycled into new materials as part of ‘circular economy’ efforts.
This includes specific limits for one type of the so-called ‘forever chemicals’, known as PFOA.
Forever chemicals [technically known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)], earned this nickname because they are considered nearly indestructible — becoming a headache for policymakers after public health and environmental concerns were raised.
Hojsík said EU member states were “not flexible at all” when setting PFOA limits during the negotiations, as they argued that there is not enough contamination data to justify stricter limits.
“The situation with PFOA chemicals contamination is higher on the agenda in countries like Belgium or the Netherlands, while in central and eastern Europe nobody knows [about it],” he told EUobserver.
Hojsík said that already the commission impact assessment revealed that there is a general lack of data about the contamination of these chemicals, despite the general obligation for member states to do proper monitoring.
EU Observer, 22-06-22