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EU assembly wants curb on heavy metals in batteries

Chemické látky
EU assembly wants curb on heavy metals in batteries
BRUSSELS - The European Parliament yesterday voted to curb the use of heavy metals in batteries, tightening a draft proposal designed to limit pollution.

But the European Commission, author of the draft EU legislation, rejected the move, saying it would cost too much.

The Commission said it would stick to its original proposal of reducing pollution by improving battery recycling rates. The law has to be backed by parliament and EU member states before it can apply.

\"I maintain that our original proposal can achieve the environmental objectives...it is the most cost-effective proposal,\" Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.

Batteries contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury which can be harmful if they enter water supplies or the atmosphere. Such pollution can occur when used batteries are dumped in landfills or incinerated.

The Commission wants to close a loophole whereby batteries used in vehicles and industry are already recycled but batteries in domestic appliances trend to be dumped.

The Commission proposal attracted lobbying from many parties, including firms like Black and Decker (BDK.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Duracell (G.N: Quote, Profile, Research) as well as Britain\'s Northern Lighthouse Board, which guides shipping, often using battery-powered lamps.

The Commission said its plan would cost 70-92 million euros a year over and above what was already spent on recycling. Most costs would fall on manufacturers, but they could seek help from national or local governments.

The Green Party in the European Parliament hailed the move to go further than the Commission.

\"Nobody wants to ban batteries, but we do want to replace those containing hazardous substances when alternatives are available,\" Belgian Ecolo parliament member Paul Lannoye said in a statement.

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