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EU Tribunal Deems Lead Chromates Authorisation Illegal
(Gothenburg, Sweden) A European Commission decision to allow a Canadian company to sell pigments for paints containing highly dangerous chemicals has today been deemed illegal.
Environmental organisations have welcomed a ruling by the Tribunal of the EU that overturns the authorisation granted to Dominion Colour Corporation (DCC) to supply red and yellow lead chromate pigments to European markets.
Lead chromates contain lead, a neurotoxin that can harm the nervous system, and chromium VI, a well-known carcinogen. Children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure and health effects are generally irreversible and have a lifelong impact. Lead chromates are also extremely toxic to aquatic life.
DCC was the only company that applied for an authorisation to use sulfochromate and lead chromate molybdate for road marking paints and a range of other applications in the EU. Today’s judgment has immediate effect: DCC can no longer sell these pigments in the EU market.
IPEN’s Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign Manager Dr. Sara Brosché said, “Lead paint is a hazardous, obsolete technology, yet lead paint is still a major source of childhood and occupational lead exposure globally. This ruling is a big win for human health and the environment.”
She added, “Cost-effective alternatives to lead are widely available for all paints and there are no reasons for continuing this harmful practice. There is now a growing momentum internationally to adopt strong bans on lead paint, and this ruling will serve as an encouragement for additional countries to follow suit.”
The ruling is a victory for the Swedish government, which brought the case before the EU courts in 2016, challenging the Commission’s initial authorisation.
The use of these toxic paint components had been abandoned for decades in many EU countries, and countries in Asia and Africa have adopted strong prohibitions on lead use in paint over the past ten years.
Brosché also added, “Paint manufacturers all around the world have already started to move away from using lead in their paint production and should be lauded for that. Many are even publicly supporting national bans on lead paint to make sure that this is completely phased out from their national paint markets. There is no reason to continue producing lead paint in any country.”
In parallel, a coalition of environmental organisations including IPEN and ClientEarth, as well as the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec), brought a case against the Commission for refusing to review the same authorisation. This case is still pending.
Editors and Journalists please contact Dr. Sara Brosché, +46 31 7995900 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for interviews or for additional information on the health hazards of lead in paint and the significance of this ruling.
Additional contact: Laura Vyda, LauraVyda@IPEN.org, +1 510-387-1739
More information on health hazards of lead in paint and the global effort to eliminate lead in paint can be found here.
IPEN is a global network of more than 500 health and environmental public interest organizations in over 100 countries, working to eliminate the world's most harmful chemicals to create a toxics-free future. IPEN’s EU Transparency Register Number: 157269723532-97