European Commission proposes to ban toxic metals in car production

The Commission’s Environment Directorate has put forward a proposal for banning the use of mercury, lead, cadmium and hexavalent chromium in new cars from July 2003, as an annex to the End of Life Vehicles Directive.

The Commission needs to assess the importance of a number of applications of these metals as a matter of priority, says the Directorate. Firstly, the use of lead as an alloy with aluminium, for which there is a need to allow a 2% maximum of lead for some machining purposes. The proposal includes an exemption for such a level until July 2005, and a 1% level until 12 months later.

For the present, there is also no alternative for lead batteries, and so their use is unavoidable, says the Directorate. Other possible temporary exemptions to the proposal are lead wheel balancing weights, electrical components and cadmium in batteries for electrical vehicles.

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