Government to challenge EU flame retardant decision

The Danish government plans to take the EU to court over a decision to permit a flame retardant suspected of causing birth defects

The government announed on Monday that it will be taking the European Commission to court in order to prevent an overturn of a ban on bromated flame retardants in electronic devices.

Bromated flame retardants are a group of chemicals that are used to prevent fires in appliances such as televisions and computers. However, the chemicals are suspected of causing birth defects and cancer.

One of the retardants, deca-BDE was to be banned starting on 1 July, but the Commission has now decided to annul the ban.

The government had asked Commission to provide proof that alternatives to deca-BDE do not exist. It did not do so, and the government will ask the courts to ensure that the chemical is not exempted from the current ban.

'It is unacceptable that the Commission will exempt deca-BDE from the general ban when there are alternatives to it,' said the Danish minister of the environment, Connie Hedegaard. 'It's unfortunate that we will be taking the matter to court, but it has proven to be the only solution. We urge other EU countries and the European Parliament to support our case.'

Hedegaard added that the decision to permit deca-BDE went against the RECAH chemical regulations, which were adopted by the EU Council of Ministers in December.

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