The list includes a further 12 priority substances that are ‘very persistent and bio-accumulative, highly toxic, or suspected of being endocrine disruptors’.

All 12 substances have been incorporated into the initial list of 33 priority substances, drawn up in 2001, and include several industrial chemicals and pesticides.

In 2008, the first Priority Substances Directive set environmental quality standards for those priority substances, and for eight other pollutants, to be met by 2015.

According to the Commission, the new substances will be monitored regularly in all Member States and, starting no later than 2021, action will “have to be taken where necessary” to reduce or eliminate emissions and bring concentrations down to safe levels by 2027.

Commenting on the agreement, Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, said:”I welcome this agreement, which will deliver a much-needed update to the Union legislation on chemical pollutants in water.

“The revised legislation should ensure better protection of the environment and human health, better information for the public about progress on improving water quality, and better reviews of the legislation in the future.

“While the Commission proposal was substantially weakened during the negotiations, I remain convinced that the final result will make a significant contribution to improving water quality, with a positive impact on health. I now look forward to working with the Member States to ensure the smooth and effective implementation of the Directive.”

Leigh Stringer

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