EU Unveils Future Revision of Chemical Regulations Through New Clean Soil Strategy

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December 7, 2021Plamena GospodinovaBlog

On 17 November 2021 the EU Commission announced the "EU Soil Strategy for 2030: Reaping the Benefits of Healthy Soils for People, Food, Nature, and Climate," indicating the possible revision of chemical-related EU legislation.

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The new policy provides an overarching framework and a concrete pathway towards achieving better soil protection. According to the text, it is important that the risks of chemicals to soil quality and biodiversity are properly considered in risk assessments in order to prevent soil pollution.

In particular, the EU Commission plans to take the following action by 2022:

  • Revise the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive 2009/128/EC
  • Improve and harmonize the consideration of soil quality and soil biodiversity in risk assessments for chemicals, food, feed additives, pesticides, fertilizers under the future REACH "one substance one assessment" procedure
  • Restrict intentionally used microplastics under the REACH Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 and develop measures on the unintentional release of microplastics
  • Prepare a REACH restriction on all non-essential uses of PFAS
  • Develop a policy framework on bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics

In addition, the strategy maps out a possible revision of the Fertilizing Products Regulation (EU) 2019/1009. The EU Commission is expected to review the contaminant limits for EU fertilizing products by July 2026 and adopt biodegradability criteria for certain polymers by July 2024.

The new policy will contribute to the achievements of the EU Green Deal’s goals, including the reduction of the overall use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% and the use of more hazardous pesticides by 50% by 2030.

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While the document is strategic, it will have a potential impact on business through possible changes in the current chemical requirements. Stakeholders may find it useful to refer to the new strategy to stay abreast of the EU’s regulatory plans related to chemicals and chemical products with soil-impacting properties.