ChemRegs Newsletter June 2017
Welcome to our new Newsletter format!
ChemRegs is proud to announce that we have a new website and therefore a new way of delivering our Newsletter.
From now on, instead of sending the Newsletter as an attachment on an email we will send you an email letting you know when the Newsletter is published online. You will also be able to access previous Newsletters and print them if required.
We will also start keeping a blog, so that we can bring you any breaking news or insights into legislation including guidance and advice.
ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental management systems – A practical guide for SMEs
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has updated its handbook on ISO 14001 to take into account the latest edition of the standard, published in 2015. It aims to help small businesses understand the requirements of an environmental management system and to help them implement ISO 14001 successfully.
The guide is divided into eleven sections, which cover the different stages in the environmental management system implementation process and give helpful information on the environmental management system model. It gives guidance on how to get started, useful implementation techniques, practical examples and a self-assessment checklist. It also covers integrating management systems, conformity assessment options and gives additional reference materials in the Annex. A fictional case study is also included at the end that gives an example of ISO 14001 implementation in a small company.
It is available to buy from https://www.iso.org/publication/PUB100411.html
Public consultation launched on the proposed restriction of lead and its compounds in shot
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has, at the request of the European Commission, submitted a report proposing a restriction on the use of lead and its compounds in shot (containing lead in concentrations greater than 1% by weight) for shooting with a shotgun within a wetland or where spent gunshot would land within a wetland, including shooting ranges or shooting grounds in wetlands.
The amount of lead released into EU wetlands due to hunting activities has been estimated to be between 1 400 – 7 800 tonnes of lead per year (including peatlands). An additional, unquantified, amount is released into EU wetlands by sports shooting (e.g. shooting ranges) annually.
Waterbirds, including waterfowl (e.g. ducks, geese and swans), ingest ‘spent’ lead gunshot that is dispersed into the environment through hunting and sports shooting. In addition, predatory and scavenging birds ingest lead gunshot that is present in their food. The ingestion of lead gunshot leads to a range of acute and chronic effects, including death. Birds affected by lead poisoning include both hunted (e.g. ducks, geese) and non-hunted species (e.g. swans, flamingos, wading birds and birds of prey).
In addition, wetlands are often an important drinking water resource. Wetland catchments (surface water or groundwater) have been reported to be contaminated with lead from the use of lead gunshot, particularly from shooting ranges.
Exposure to lead is associated with adverse effects on the development of children’s nervous systems and kidney failure and high blood pressure in adults. Lead is considered as a ‘non-threshold’ substance for neurodevelopment effects in children or kidney effects in adults, meaning that it is not possible to set a ‘safe’ exposure level for these effects.
Alternatives to lead gunshot, such as steel cartridges, are suitable for all types of hunting in wetlands and are widely available. The price of steel shot is currently comparable to that of lead shot.
This consultation is open from 21 June 2017 to 21 December 2017. ECHA’s Scientific Committees welcome early comments by 21 August 2017 to assist them in the first discussion of the proposal in September 2017 and additional comments by 21 November 2017, to assist them in the second discussion of the proposal in December 2017.
Eurobarometer survey on chemical safety
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (No 1907/2006) (which came into force on 1 June 2007), the European Commission has published the findings of the Eurobarometer survey on chemical safety.
One of the reasons for developing REACH was to improve citizens’ confidence in the EU regulatory framework and the safety of products. This study reveals the impact REACH has made in its 10 years’ existence and paints a mixed picture of public awareness of, and confidence in, the safety of chemical products.
The study found that almost half of the respondents think that chemical products are safe for human health and the environment, although perceptions of safety vary considerably between EU Member States. Also, half of respondents said that the current level of regulation and standards in the EU is not high enough and should be increased. Further, respondents were more likely to think that product safety has improved in the last 10-15 years than say it has deteriorated. They were also inclined to think that products manufactured in the EU contain safer chemicals than those imported from outside the EU, although three in ten said that none of the products are safe.
Awareness and comprehension of four (out of nine) hazard pictograms was tested. Awareness and comprehension was found to be quite high for certain pictograms, especially for ‘flammability’ pictogram. However, only one in five said that they have seen the serious health hazard pictogram before, and just one in six knew the meaning of the exclamation mark pictogram.
Overall, the survey findings concluded that EU citizens need to be better informed about the safety of chemical products, and the concerns that many of them have need to be clarified.