EU – The European Union will ban cadmium in jewellery and all plastics from December 2011.
It says consumers, including children, risk exposure to cadmium through skin contact or through licking. Cadmium is carcinogenic, and toxic in the aquatic environment.
Besides plastics and jewellery, the cadmium ban also covers brazing sticks, which are used to join dissimilar materials, as fumes that are released during this process are highly dangerous if inhaled. The ban will be listed in Annex XVII of the Reach Regulation.
The new legislation prohibits cadmium in all plastic products while encouraging the recovery of PVC waste for use in construction products. As PVC is a valuable material that can be recovered a number of times, the new legislation allows the reuse of recovered PVC containing low levels of cadmium in a limited number of construction products, which it is not believed endanger the public or the environment. Construction products made of this recovered PVC will be marketed with a specific logo.
Since alternatives became available, the European PVC industry decided to phase out cadmium from all PVC as part of its Vinyl 2010 programme. The use of cadmium in batteries and electronics has been restricted since 2004.
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