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EU approves restricted use of creosote

The European Commission has approved the continued industrial use of the wood preservative, creosote, as a biocide, subject to a range of restrictions. The active ingredient will be added to Annex I of the EU biocidal products Directive (98/8) on May 1st 2013 for a five-year period, rather than the normal ten. Applicants for product approvals will have to provide an analysis of the technical and economic feasibility of substitution with a safer alternative. EU member states may only authorise products if no appropriate alternatives are available, and will have to justify their decisions to the Commission. Measures must be imposed to protect workers, downstream users, and the soil and aquatic environments. The approval follows several years of debate over the ai’s fate after its review under Directive 98/8 triggered a possible ban due to health and environmental concerns. However, a consultation in 2009 revealed support for continued use, mainly due to lack of suitable alternatives ( Agrow No 610, p 10).

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