Commission bans textile dyes to protect the aquatic environment

Jan. 8, 2003
The European Commission has adopted a new Directive banning the marketing and use of a dangerous "azo-dye", a chromate-based chemical used for coloring textiles.

Jan. 8, 2003 -- The European Commission has adopted a new Directive banning the marketing and use of a dangerous "azo-dye", a chromate-based chemical used for coloring textiles. It has been found that this substance is dangerous for fish and other aquatic organisms. During the coloring process, releases into waste-water cannot be avoided, thus threatening the aquatic environment. The ban takes effect from 30 June 2004.

European Commissioner for Enterprise, Erkki Liikanen, said: "This measure is a further indication of the determination of the Commission to act to protect the environment whenever scientific evidence so warrants. At the same time it will provide an incentive to enterprises which have been innovative and have developed dyes which are less dangerous to the environment."

The EU already restricted the marketing and use of a high number of other carcinogenic azo-dyes in July 2002. Such azo-dyes were widely used in the past because their production is easy and cheap.

However, due to their carcinogenic properties, their use could no longer be permitted. Recently, a further risk assessment has come to the conclusion that this chromate-based azo-dye should be added to the list of prohibited azo-dyes because it is toxic to fish, not easily bio-degradable and reaches the environment via waste water.

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