Work in Parliament Use of toxic flame retardants and effects on health, fire toxicity, environment and internal market

Questions to the Commission and the Council | 20-05-2020

Question for written answer E-XXXXX/2020 to the Commission
Rule 138
Maria da Graça Carvalho, José Manuel Fernandes, Álvaro Amaro

Toxic flame retardants are often used to treat foam and textile inserted in furniture and bedding in order to comply with timeworn flammability requirements in force in some EU countries, such as UK and Ireland. According to studies of the Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture, these retardants are not effective to protect humans, animals and the environment and they instead increase fire toxicity, asphyxiation risks and bad visibility conditions in particular for firefighters. The flame retardants also reduce end-of-life recycling possibilities of the affected products. As many non-toxic alternatives already exist, in view of the reinforcement of the circular economy framework, it is important to ensure an EU-wide action to harmonize flammability requirements to a level where toxic flame-retardants become redundant.

  • Is the Commission planning to address the flammability requirements across Europe from a health, fire toxicity, environmental and competitiveness perspective?
  • Given their health impacts, how will the Commission deal with the use of unnecessary toxic flame-retardants in the context of the initiatives on Circular Economy and on the improvement of public procurement framework, including the strengthening of green public procurement goals?
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