Government takes European Commission to court over lead chromates decision

The Swedish Government considers that the European Commission broke the rules when it authorised the continued use of lead chromates in the EU. The decision is bad for people’s health and distorts competition for responsible businesses that have stopped using these hazardous substances. The Government therefore decided today to refer the Commission’s decision to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling.

In September, the European Commission decided to authorise a business to sell pigments containing lead chromates for use within the EU, despite the fact that adequate alternatives are available. By referring the Commission to the Court, the Government is defending common EU regulations, people's health and those businesses that live up to their environmental responsibilities.

Because lead pigments are often cheaper than the alternatives, businesses that choose to sell these paints will gain a competitive advantage over businesses that have chosen to remove hazardous lead chromates. The Commission's decision thus sends a signal that it is not worthwhile for businesses to phase out particularly hazardous substances. By referring the decision for a preliminary ruling, the Government is also standing up for healthy competition in the European Single Market.

Lead is one of the most poisonous substances known to humankind. The chemicals regulations in the EU clearly state that authorisations for this kind of hazardous substances may only be granted where there are no available alternatives. Such alternatives are available in the case of lead chromates, a fact demonstrated by Swedish businesses and others that have phased out their use.

Contact

Darina Agha
Press Secretary to Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Mobile +46 (0) 72-708 16 27
email to Darina Agha
Hanna Björnfors
Press Secretary to Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Mobile +46 (0)72-500 92 11
email to Hanna Björnfors, via senior registry clerk
Ann Wolgers
Press Secretary to Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00