Insecticide Restrictions Upheld (EU)

The General Court of the European Union this morning confirmed the validity of the restrictions introduced at EU level in 2013 against the insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid (neonicotinoids) because of the risks those substances pose to bees.

However, it largely upheld the action brought by BASF and annulled the measures restricting the use of the pesticide fipronil, since they were imposed without a prior impact assessment.

The press release is here.

The General Court (EGC) is a constituent court of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The European Commission had already decided on 27 April to extend existing measures to ban the outdoor use of the three neonicotinoids, after realising the necessary qualified majority among EU member states. Information about this is here.

18 member states, including France, Germany, Italy and the UK, endorsed the Commission proposal to further restrict the use of the three active substances used in pesticides (Bayer’s imidacloprid and clothianidin, and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam).

The countries that voted against were Hungary, Romania, Denmark and the Czech Republic.

The new ban on outdoor use will be in effect by the end of 2018.

Brexit Bill Tracker (UK)

The UK Institute for Government has helpfully compiled the following graphic. You will notice that no UK Brexit bill is yet enacted. Nonetheless, unless otherwise agreed between the UK and the EU, from 12 midnight CET on 29 March 2019, the UK is a third country (in EU law terms).

In the event there is agreement between the UK and the EU on Withdrawal, there will be an additional Withdrawal and Implementation Bill (not to be confused with the Withdrawal Bill that is presently in progress). It is this Withdrawal and Implementation Bill that may set out the provisions for the Transition Period (if such is agreed). Attached to this Bill, may be an outline of the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

Carcinogens and Mutagens (EU)

I posted in 2017 about new developments with the European Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC). Find this in the Chemicals archive on this Blog.

A new proposal is now made (the third legislative amendment since the start of this European Commission. Note : the Directive was already amended before these current developments). This third amendment is here. In total, there are three current amendments outlined in this Blog post.

Apart from the third amendment, two previous legislative amendments were proposed by the Commission, in May 2016 and January 2017. Together they proposed limit values to 20 carcinogens. The first of these proposals (the 2016 one) was adopted by the co-legislators as Directive (EU) 2017/2398 (which is an amendment to Directive 2004/37/EC).

NB : Member States have until the start of 2020 to implement Directive (EU) 2017/2398.

The first revision adds 13 new or stricter exposure limits to the EU Directive. Respirable crystalline silica dust, benzene and vinyl chloride monomer are three of the substances affected.

The second proposal for legislative amendments (the 2017 one) is currently being discussed by legislators. The second revision sees new binding occupational exposure limits (Boels), and in some cases skin notations set for:

trichloroethylene;

4,4-methylenedianiline;

epichlorohydrine;

ethylene dibromide;

ethylene dichloride; and

mixtures containing benzo(a)pyrene.

As part of this latest (third) amendment to the CMD, five carcinogens of high relevance for the protection of workers are selected:

• Cadmium and its inorganic compounds;

• Beryllium and inorganic beryllium compounds;

• Arsenic acid and its salts, as well as inorganic arsenic compounds;

• Formaldehyde;

• 4,4′-Methylene-bis(2-chloroaniline) (MOCA).

Background

The EU principles of worker protection from carcinogens are laid out in the over-arching Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Framework Directive 89/391/EEC and those Directives specifically dealing with chemical risks – notably the Chemical Agents Directive (CAD) and the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD).

Under the OSH framework, risks to the safety and health of workers must be eliminated, or, if total elimination is not possible, reduced to a minimum. Employers must identify and assess risks to workers associated with exposure to specific carcinogens and mutagens at the workplace, and must prevent exposure where risks occur. Where this is technically possible, substitution with a non- or less-hazardous process or chemical agent is required. In cases where such substitution is not possible, chemical carcinogens must, as far as it is technically possible, be manufactured and used in a closed system to prevent workers’ exposure. Where this is not possible either, worker exposure must be reduced to as low a level as is technically possible.

The Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) sets a number of general provisions to prevent or reduce exposure for all carcinogens and mutagens falling under its scope. In addition to these general minimum requirements, the CMD indicates occupational exposure limit values (OELs) for all those carcinogens or mutagens for which this is possible, as an essential means to protect workers.

From time to time, there are revisions proposed to the CMD (and the CAD).

Email Alerts

Email Alerts are issued closer to the date when Member States must implement the changes to the EU law. Otherwise, please continue to follow this Blog.

Brexit

The first of these amendments must be implemented by early in January 2020. It is not known if the UK will implement this amendment.

UK exits the EU (Galileo)

There is a developing situation regarding the EU Galileo project. EU negotiator Michel Barnier referred to it in a speech yesterday – his speech is here

” Ladies and gentlemen,

One word on Galileo. There have recently been many press articles – and many misunderstandings.

The UK decided unilaterally and autonomously to withdraw from the EU. This implies leaving its programmes as well.

So, we need to put the cooperation on Galileo between the EU and the UK on a new basis.

In doing so, our responsibility is to maintain the autonomy of the EU and to protect our essential security interests.

The EU’s rules on Galileo have been in place for a long time, and are well known to the UK.

In particular, third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules.

Those rules were adopted together by unanimity with the UK as a member, and they have not changed.

Those rules do not prevent the UK, as a third country, from using the encrypted signal of Galileo, provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the UK are in place. ”

The Telegraph (and others) report the UK Business Secretary Greg Clark has written to 13 UK businesses involved in sensitive work on the EU Galileo project, such as coded communications, saying they must have the UK Government’s sign-off to start new contracts.

EU Notices issued as respects Third Country rules and arrangements in a range of subject areas are found here.

In January, the EU announced the back-up site for the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre will move from the UK to Spain. The press release is here.

UK exits EU (environmental principles & governance)

A major role carried out by the European Court is oversight of the enforcement of European Union Treaty principles embodied in EU environmental law.

The UK authorities had announced a new body would be set up to replace the role of the European Court in this respect.

This morning, the consultation document is announced for this new body (applicable to England only). This document is here. Consultation lasts until 2 August.

The new body will be established by the Environmental Principles and Governance Bill (a Brexit bill – England) that will be brought forward in the Autumn. The consultation addresses the development of this Bill.

The consultation seeks input on some of the key questions around how environmental principles should be embedded into law, public policy-making and delivery, and what functions and powers the new environmental watchdog should have to oversee environmental law and policy.  The consultation document is set out in three parts:

Part 1 – Environmental Principles

Part 2 – Accountability for the Environment

Part 3 – Overall Environmental Governance

NOTE : this post will be UPDATED when the UK authorities respond to the consultation. If you are interested in developments, please make a note to return to this post in the Blog, a separate alert will not be sent out.

UK exits the EU (more EU Notices)

Reminder : more EU Notices are issued – please find all EU Notices and Notices issued by EU Bodies (such as ECHA) here.

Please note the latest ones include EU Notices on Aviation and the internal Energy Market.

Unless a ratified Withdrawal Agreement establishes another date, the UK will become a third country (as respects the EU rules and participation in EU institutions and bodies) from midnight CET on 29th March 2019. These Notices set out the changes that will apply from that date. The changes are subject to any transition arrangements that may be contained in any ratified Withdrawal Agreement at the date above.