Brussels, 12 February 2020 – The European Pirates’ delegation voted today against the recycling of toxic PVC (containing lead) and its return to the circulation of goods. This supports an objection to the Commission’s approach, which imposes a ban on imports of toxic PVC from abroad but leaves a 15-year period for its recycling.
“It is absolutely nonsense to recycle and revive toxic material. We want only pure lead-free PVC to be recycled. The health of the population and the protection of the environment are our top priority,” said Pirate MEP Mikuláš Peksa.
WHO has identified lead as one of the ten most dangerous substances and Member States need to take action to protect the health of workers, children and women of childbearing potential. There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects. Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood. The most vulnerable population due to the toxic effects of lead are children. At high levels of exposure, lead attacks the brain and central nervous system to cause coma, convulsions and even death. Children who survive severe lead poisoning may be left with mental retardation and behavioural disorders. At lower levels of exposure that cause no obvious symptoms lead is now known to produce a spectrum of injury across multiple body systems. In particular lead can affect children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioural changes such as reduced attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes anaemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioural effects of lead are believed to be irreversible. The Institute for Health Measurement and Assessment (IHME) estimated that in 2017, lead exposure caused 1.06 million deaths worldwide and 24.4 million years of healthy life lost (disability-adjusted years of life).