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Plastics | 11 May 2018

ClientEarth and EEB (joint) submission to ECHA’s call for evidence on microplastics

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ClientEarth and EEB (joint) submission to ECHA’s call for evidence on microplastics

ClientEarth, together with the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), participated to the call for evidence organised by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), regarding a potential restriction on microplastics (intentionally added to products).

The evidence submitted supports the need for a restriction to be adopted at EU level, to protect human health and the environment from this pollution. According to a 2017 IUCN report, microplastics could indeed contribute up to 30% of the ‘plastic soup’ polluting the world’s oceans and, in many developed countries, are a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than the more visible larger pieces of marine litter. We also raised our concerns about ECHA’s objectivity in handling this call for evidence - considering the multiple invitations it has made to companies intentionally adding microplastics to their products - to submit evidence showing their need for derogations.

We will follow the next steps closely; ECHA must decide by January 2019, on the basis of the evidence submitted and its own research, whether to make a restriction proposal. The restriction proposal would then be submitted to ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee and Socioeconomic Assessment Committee, who will have to provide their scientific opinions by January 2020.