On behalf of the Intermunicipal Committee for the Quality of Life of Dosolo, on more stringent limits on formaldehyde under the REACH Regulation and on its replacement in the wood panel industry 

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Dies ist eine Online-Petition of the European Parliament.


The petitioner, taking as her starting point the change in the classification of formaldehyde as a carcinogen, from ‘suspected’ to ‘presumed or known’ (with effect from 1 January 2016, pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 605/2014), sounds the alarm on behalf of residents of an area in the Province of Mantua (Lombardy) where she says that more than 12% of all the formaldehyde in Europe is produced (4 115 000 tonnes per year). In particular, this substance is used by the local chemical industry for the manufacture of wood fibre panels, and during this process large quantities are emitted into the atmosphere. On the basis of the results of epidemiological studies conducted by the Mantua local health authority (2012), children living near the plants are suffering from diseases of the respiratory system and are more exposed to genotoxic damage, with alterations to their DNA that can cause cancer. Contrary to the requirement that emissions of formaldehyde and NO2 be reduced, as laid down in the integrated environmental authorisation renewed in 2012 for the chemical company Pomponesco SPA, in 2016 the Province of Mantua authorised an increase in production, with a consequent increase in emissions and in the risk of accidents involving explosions or fires. In this regard the petitioner mentions a number of worrying incidents (explosions, clouds of smoke, a shower of yellow dust), the last of which (on 20 July 2017), at the establishment of the business in question, is said to have injured workers and caused visible damage to buildings due to an explosion with effects similar to those of an earthquake. With regard to this last incident, criminal proceedings are ongoing. In conclusion, the petitioner, stressing that formaldehyde, as well as being used throughout the wood production chain, has a wide range of applications, as a constituent of thermosetting resins, cosmetics, detergents, pharmaceuticals and vaccines, solvents and paints, etc., makes a number of requests: 1) the imposition of stricter atmospheric emission limits corresponding to the best available techniques (BAT) for the production of wood-based panels, on the basis of Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/2119 of 20 November 2015; 2) reduction of the individual exposure limits for formaldehyde, pending its complete replacement by 31 December 2019; 3) the inclusion of these precautionary measures also in Decision (EU) 2016/902 (BAT conclusions on common waste water and waste gas treatment/management systems in the chemical sector); 4) the inclusion of formaldehyde in Annex XIV to Regulation No 1907/2006 (REACH) on substances subject to authorisation as carcinogenic, persistent and bioaccumulative; 5) the use of formaldehyde substitutes in the manufacture of wood panels.

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