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Compliance & Standards Briefing: Reach, Epeat, BPA

Two-thirds of Europeans claim they read the instructions on chemical products before use, but only seven percent follow the directions fully, according to a survey by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The agency was required to carry out the Eurobarometer survey (pdf) as part of REACH regulations, in an effort to understand how well the general public understands chemical labels, and how those labels can be improved, Treehugger reports. The public’s failure to follow directions could have serious environmental consequences, the news site notes. For example, the EU requires manufacturers to specify how much laundry detergent one should use. If Europeans are using too much, this could send a lot of chemicals into the environment.

All baby bottles containing bisphenol A (BPA) must now be off store shelves in the European Union, as an EU ban takes effect, Environmental News Service reports. The substance was already prohibited in the manufacture of baby bottles starting in March. Both measures were mandated by an EU law adopted in January. “Due to the fact that there are uncertainties concerning the effect of the exposure of infants to bisphenol A, the Commission deemed it both necessary and appropriate to take action,” health and consumer policy commissioner John Dalli said. “The aim is to further reduce the exposure of the most vulnerable part of our population – infants.” In March 2009, the six largest makers of baby bottles announced they would stop manufacturing baby bottles with BPA in the U.S. Manufacturers of bisphonal A contend that the product is safe.

The IEEE will soon ballot two voluntary standards on environmentally preferable electronic equipment. Standard 1680.2 applies to imaging equipment, and 1680.3 applies to televisions. The IPC, the association for the printed circuit board industry, says that the standards will become “de facto regulations” because President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 requires all government procurement to be certified to the Environmentally Preferable Electronics Assessment Tool (EPEAT) umbrella, which follows the IEEE 1680 family of standards. Members of the IEEE Computer Society and IEEE standards associations can vote on the measures by joining the balloting group by June 23.

The ISO has taken on standards development in five new and expanded areas: risk management, outsourcing, additive manufacturing, human resources management and project, program and portfolio management. These areas will add to the organization’s ever-widening portfolio of over 18,600 international standards, “covering almost everything from screw sizes to social responsibility,” the ISO says.

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