Trade bodies seek EU rules on drinking water contact materials

Legislation on materials in contact with drinking water must be harmonised across the European Union, an alliance of companies supplying products and materials for drinking water applications has said. The European Drinking Water Initiative (EDW), which counts 30 trade associations as members, called for a revision of the drinking water Directive (DWD) to ensure that the safety of materials and products in contact with drinking water are dealt with at the EU level. On drinking water contact materials, many member states currently have their own requirements and approval schemes in place, creating an unlevel playing field for industry, the industry coalition has said. The Commission is conducting a review of the Directive, however, with a first proposal expected at the end of this year. Volker Meyer, EDW chairman, said “thresholds and limits” are likely to be imposed on contact materials. The legislative framework should create a level playing field for industry, where a product has to demonstrate compliance with the harmonised requirements only once within the single market, Dr Meyer told Chemical Watch. The Commission’s directorates also need to reach a common understanding on contact materials, he said. “Materials and hygienic aspects should be fixed in the DWD. Product regulation should be solved by the construction products Regulation. So we need a combination of both acts.” The EDW has several working groups dedicated to the review. It is also supporting four member states – France, UK, the Netherlands and Germany – in helping the Commission develop a “workable” regulatory framework, which should follow a “unified and science-based approach”, Dr Meyer added. The call for harmonised legislation was issued at a symposium on 18 May on drinking water contact materials, organised by EDW, PlasticsEurope, the Copper Alliance and EurEau, an association representing drinking water and wastewater operators. Representatives from the Commission and national regulators also attended. Article 10 of the drinking water Directive needs to be revised to have clearer and more specific requirements at the European level, Dr Meyer told the symposium. Article 10 simply states that member states should ensure materials in contact with drinking water do not reduce the protection of human health. The Commission stressed to Chemical Watch that it is the construction products Regulation – not the DWD – that regulates products, such as pipes that are in contact with drinking water. Although there are standard methods for testing whether water has been contaminated, said a Commission spokesperson, there are no specific standards for the products that come into contact with water. DG Growth is currently consulting on new mandates for standardisation work that should be adopted by a Commission implementing Decision. Three separate product mandates for metallic, organic and cementitious materials are proposed so that standardisation in one material group is not blocked by slow developments in another. Further information is available at: EDW press release EDW position paper

Chemical Watch, 13 June 2017 ; ;