Green Paper on Environmental Issues of PVC

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Courtesy of European Commission, Environment DG

Untitled Document

Introduction

The Commission has committed itself to assess the impact of PVC on the environment, including related human health issues, in an integrated approach. In the Proposal for a Directive on end of life vehicles, it is stated that ' the Commission will consider the evidence regarding the environmental aspects relating to the presence of PVC in waste streams; on the basis of the evidence, the Commission will review its policy regarding the presence of PVC in waste streams and will come forward with proposals to address problems which may arise in this regard.' In the Council Common Position on that Proposal, it is further stated that ' the Commission is currently examining the environmental impacts of PVC. The Commission will, on the basis of this work, make proposals as appropriate as to the use of PVC including considerations for vehicles'.

PVC has been at the centre of a controversial debate during much of the last decades. A number of diverging scientific, technical and economic opinions have been expressed on the question of PVC and its effects on human health and the environment. Some Member States have recommended or adopted measures related to specific aspects of the PVC life cycle. These measures are not identical and some of them may have consequences for the internal market. An integrated approach is therefore necessary to assess the whole life cycle of PVC in order to develop the necessary measures to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment as well as the proper functioning of the internal market.

The two objectives of this document are, firstly, to present and assess on a scientific basis, the various environmental issues including related human health aspects that occur during the life cycle of PVC and, secondly, to consider, in view of sustainable development, a number of options to reduce those impacts that need to be addressed. This should serve as a basis for a consultation with stakeholders in order to identify practical solutions to health and environmental issues raised by PVC.

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